Law Office of David L. Scott

If You Remarry or Live with Another Person in Tennessee : Do You Lose Your Right to Alimony?

Your continued receipt of alimony can be jeopardized by remarrying or cohabitation

Alimony, or spousal support, is awarded to one spouse after a divorce to provide financial security. Sometimes alimony is awarded temporarily to help the spouse become financially independent by allowing them to go get further education or career training. Other types of alimony can provide continued, longer term support for the spouse in the form of installment payments. Tennessee refers to this as periodic alimony or “alimony in futuro.”

Alimony can be paid in a few different ways:

Periodic alimony is by far the most common type of alimony. If you are receiving periodic alimony from your former spouse, you need to know that it will automatically end at the time you are remarried. There will be no need for your former spouse to go to court in order to terminate this type of alimony. He or she can just stop making the payments. Any past due payments, however, will still be owed to you. Remarrying, however, will not effect any right you have to a lump-sum alimony award. If the court ordered your spouse to make a one-time payment or transfer of property, you are still entitled to this.

Viewed from the other side of this, if you are paying your former spouse alimony and you are remarried, this can effect how much you are required to pay. If the remarriage has effected your financial responsibilities, a court may modify the amount of alimony you are required to pay your former spouse. An increase in financial responsibilities is something to consider in any alimony modification hearing.

Cohabitating can also effect your right to continue receiving alimony from your former spouse. Cohabitation refers to an unmarried couple living together. When you choose to cohabitate, a legal presumption will arise that you no longer need alimony. It is your responsibility to prove otherwise, if your former spouse takes this issue to court. If you still need all or part of the alimony payments despite cohabitation, you will be required to prove it. There may have even been a provision in the original divorce decree that alimony would automatically end upon cohabitation.

If you are paying your former spouse alimony and they begin living with someone else, you should file a motion with the court to terminate alimony. However, know that you will have to prove that cohabitation is happening.

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