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Do I Need an Attorney to Modify Alimony Payments in TN?

If you are paying alimony and have come up against a challenge that makes keeping up with the payments extremely difficult, you may be able to modify these payments, but doing so is a complicated process that you are well-advised to embark upon with the right Tennessee divorce attorney on your side. The economic downturn caused by the pandemic is a great example of why many people currently paying alimony are seeking modifications. While every case is unique to its own circumstances, better understanding how alimony and the modification process work can help.

Different Kinds of Alimony

If the alimony that you pay is alimony in solido, which is a lump sum amount that is paid either all at once or over time, or transitional alimony that helps your ex transition into divorced life, it is not modifiable in the State of Tennessee. Generally, however, alimony in futuro (also called periodic alimony) – which is long-term support – and rehabilitative alimony – which is intended to help the payee find his or her financial footing after divorce and has a specific end date – are modifiable. It is fair to say, however, that the process of obtaining such a modification can be confusing.

A Substantial and Material Change of Circumstances

In Tennessee, a modification of alimony is only granted if the ex-spouse requesting the modification can show a substantial and material change in circumstances since the original alimony order. What qualifies as a substantial and material change is the tricky part. Consider the following:

  • In order to qualify as a material change in circumstances, it must have been unforeseeable, unanticipated, and not something you and your spouse were able to contemplate at the time your divorce was finalized. If you lost your job due to COVID-19, it could qualify on this point.
  • In order to qualify as a substantial change in circumstances, it must have significantly affected your ability to pay or your ex’s need for support. The job loss (due to the pandemic) example might also qualify on this point.
  • Ultimately, every modification is examined on a case-by-case basis, and the court will carefully parse your modification request to determine if your situation reaches the level of a substantial and material change of circumstances.

While the guidelines in and of themselves are not especially complicated, their application to specific situations often is, and your best chance of obtaining an alimony modification is with an experienced divorce attorney in your corner.

Reach out to an Experienced Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney Today

If you need an alimony modification, the Murfreesboro divorce attorneys at Dotson & Taylor have the experience, legal insight, and skill to help you build your strongest case in support of this modification. Our accomplished legal team takes great pride in helping clients like you successfully make their way through the alimony modification process, and we are here for you, too. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us today.