How Should You and Your Ex-Spouse Divide Your Assets When Your Adult Children Still Depend on You Financially?
Your children don’t stop needing you the minute they reach the age of legal maturity. Economic realities make it so that an increasing number of young adults live with their parents, and even the ones who live away from home still rely on some financial help from their parents. The good news is that you probably get to have a close relationship with your children for years to come. The bad news is that it makes divorce more complicated. If you are planning to divorce, then the amount of money you can give to your adult children will have to come solely from the share of the marital assets the court awards to you. Contact a Tennessee divorce lawyer to discuss your financial future if you are getting a divorce and have adult children who rely on you for financial support.
Details of the Tatum Case
Rebecca and Don Tatum married in 1988; when they permanently separated on June 1, 2012, their daughter Donielle and son Caleb were legal adults, but their youngest child Andrea was still a minor. Both spouses earned bachelor’s degrees during their marriage, and at the time of the divorce, each spouse earned approximately $50,000 per year. Rebecca was a teacher who had taken on additional jobs to supplement their income, and Don was an industrial engineer who had begun working at Suburban after being laid off from a 23-year stint of employment at Maytag. Since Rebecca had been out of the workforce for several years when the children were young, Don had earned more during the marriage.
Although they sometimes argued during their marriage, the incident on June 1, 2012 was a turning point. Rebecca and the children confronted Don about excessive phone communication with a female friend; Don admitted to an emotional affair, and a physical altercation between the spouses ensued, during which the children called 911. They filed for divorce soon after.
The court awarded Rebecca transitional alimony for three years, $500 per month, to begin when Andrea turned 18. Don appealed, citing lack of need for alimony on Rebecca’s part. When Rebecca stated her expenses, she included the money she spent helping Caleb and Donielle pay for college; Don considered this discretionary spending. The appeals court upheld the alimony arrangement, especially since Rebecca and Don were married for more than two decades and had implicitly committed to helping their children pay for college together.
Let Us Help You Today
A family law attorney can help you and your ex-spouse resolve disputes related to the financial support of your adult children, modifying your alimony agreement, if appropriate. Contact Knoxville divorce attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.