Clarksville Divorce information

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Support, Property, and Debts

While the most stressful issues in a divorce may be regarding children, issues regarding support, property division, and debt division can be the most complicated. Some issues that commonly arise are: child support, spousal support (alimony), division of assets and debts, and bankruptcy and divorce.

Child Support

For information regarding child support please click here.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

Tennessee recognizes several distinct types of spousal support, including (1) alimony in futuro, (2) alimony in solido, (3) rehabilitative alimony, and (4) transitional alimony.

Alimony in futuro (which means “into the future”), is intended to provide support on a long-term basis until the death or remarriage of the recipient. The typical situation in which alimony in futuro is appropriate is when one spouse has stayed out of the workforce to care for children while the other spouse worked and advanced his or her career. In this scenario, one spouse is unable to achieve an earning capacity that will permit him or her to maintain a standard of living after the divorce that is reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. In today’s society, with both spouses typically working outside the home, alimony in futuro has become “the exception instead of the norm.”

Alimony in solido is also a form of long-term support. The total amount of alimony in solido is set on the date of the divorce decree and is either paid in a lump sum payment of cash or property or paid in installments for a definite term.

Rehabilitative alimony is intended to assist an economically disadvantaged spouse in acquiring additional education or training which will enable the spouse to achieve a standard of living comparable to the standard of living that existed during the marriage or the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse. Rehabilitative alimony is to assist the disadvantaged spouse in obtaining additional education, job skills, or training to become more self-sufficient following the divorce.

The fourth category of support, transitional alimony, is appropriate when a court finds that rehabilitation is not required but that the economically disadvantaged spouse needs financial assistance in adjusting to the economic consequences of the divorce. In contrast to rehabilitative alimony, which is designed to increase an economically disadvantaged spouse's capacity for self-sufficiency, transitional alimony is designed to aid a spouse who already possesses the capacity for self-sufficiency but needs financial assistance in adjusting to the economic consequences of establishing and maintaining a household without the benefit of the other spouse's income.

Finally, in determining whether to award spousal support and, if so, determining the nature, amount, length, and manner of payment, courts consider several factors. The two most important are the disadvantaged spouse's need and the other spouse's ability to pay.

Division of Assets and Debts

“Marital property” is defined as “all real and personal property, both tangible and intangible, acquired by either or both spouses during the course of the marriage up to the date of the final divorce hearing and owned by either or both spouses as of the date of filing a complaint for divorce.”

“Marital debts” are all debts incurred by either or both spouses during the course of the marriage up to the date of the final divorce hearing. In a divorce, the Court has to make an equitable division of both martial debt and marital assets.

Martial property can include pension plans (including military pensions), retirement accounts, and other investments. However, a determination of what is martial property, especially when part of the value of the asset was acquired before the marriage, can be complicated.

To evaluate what is a fair division of martial property and debts, you should seek the advice of an attorney.

Bankruptcy and Divorce

Many times financial problems bring about conflict that leads to divorce. Many times these same financial problems may lead one or both spouses to consider filing bankruptcy.

In 2005, the Bankruptcy Act was changed in many ways, including the creation of a new all-inclusive term of "domestic support obligation." A domestic support obligation is a debt to a "spouse, former spouse, child, child's parent, legal guardian or responsible relative" established by a separation agreement, divorce decree, property settlement agreement, court order, or determination under applicable non-bankruptcy law by a governmental unit for alimony, maintenance or support."

In general, if one spouse agrees to pay or is ordered to pay certain debts in a divorce, it becomes extremely difficult to discharge those debts in bankruptcy. Furthermore, obligations for support, both child and spousal, and property division generally cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy.

If you need further information regarding your rights and responsibilities in divorce, then please contact us.



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