After a divorce, it’s not uncommon for one spouse (the supporting spouse) to be required to provide financial support to the other spouse (the dependent spouse). This financial support is called alimony.
The length of time you are required to pay alimony is based on how long the marriage lasted. But one may wonder what happens when the dependant spouse gets remarried. Do the alimony payments stop?
While laws vary from state to state, if you’re in Tennessee and have questions about what happens to alimony payments if your spouse remarries, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about alimony and remarriage in Tennessee.
Can I Stop Paying Alimony If My Ex Remarries?
In many states, when the dependent spouse remarries, it’s not considered grounds for alimony payments to stop. In Tennessee, however, that’s not the case.
Tennessee law states that your obligation to pay alimony immediately ends when your ex remarries. And there is no need to go through the courts to stop payments. Instead, you can simply stop paying alimony to your ex as soon as they are legally married.
There are, however, exceptions to that rule.
- Lump-sum alimony — If you agreed to lump-sum alimony and you haven’t made all of the payments, you are still obligated to pay your ex the agreed upon amount in full even if they remarry.
- You’re behind in payments — If you were behind in alimony payments before your ex remarried, you would be required to make the payments up to the date of their marriage.
Although this legislation is in place, it’s in your best interest to check with your attorney before stopping payments. If your alimony payments are a substantial part of your ex’s financial stability and their new spouse is unable to meaningfully contribute to their financial security, the court may order you to continue paying alimony, even if your ex-spouse is remarried.
Are There Other Ways to End My Alimony Obligation?
Unless it’s specifically written in your divorce decree that alimony cannot be modified, the answer is yes. Similar to child support payments, alimony may be adjusted or terminated if either you or your ex experience a substantial change in circumstances.
Some common reasons the court may consider a termination or modification of alimony include the following:
- The dependent spouse is unable to rehabilitate themself
- The needs of the dependent spouse change
- Child support termination
- A change in the income of either party
- Remarriage of either spouse
- Violation of the divorce decree by either spouse
- Sale of the family home
To request a modification, you must file a motion to customize or end alimony with your local circuit court clerk’s office. The court will schedule a hearing where you will be required to verify the circumstances that changed requiring an adjustment in alimony.
For a modification to be approved, the circumstances must be substantial. Your ex receiving a small raise wouldn’t be considered grounds for a modification.
Can I Stop Paying Alimony If My Ex is Cohabitating?
In Tennessee, if the dependent spouse is cohabitating with someone else, the court views them as someone who doesn’t require support unless that spouse can prove otherwise. If the dependent spouse claims they still have a need for the alimony payments, they would have to prove that they still need the court-ordered alimony payments. To avoid this, your divorce decree could include a statement that both parties agree that alimony will end automatically after cohabitation.
In order to request a modification or termination of alimony due to cohabitation, you must present proof that reveals your ex living with another person. You must also provide evidence that their economic demands have been reduced due to their new living arrangement.
Still Have Questions? Call Attorney Hunter Fowler.
With all of the various factors that can contribute to whether or not you need to continue to make alimony payments or if you can modify your obligation to pay alimony, you need an experienced family law attorney by your side to guide you. That’s where Hunter Fowler, a Murfreesboro Attorney can help.
Regardless of your legal problems, you need an attorney who will work to understand the details of your case and then fight for your best interest. You aren’t just another number to Attorney Hunter Fowler. He knows how difficult navigating family law is when you don’t have the proper information. That’s why, when you work with Hunter, you can expect honest, open communication throughout the process.
If you’re looking for a knowledgeable family law attorney who cares, contact Attorney Hunter Fowler today.