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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Alimony > Not All Alimony Recipients in Tennessee Are Women

Not All Alimony Recipients in Tennessee Are Women


Finances can be a major source of conflict in a marriage and an even bigger source of conflict after a divorce.  When one party earns significantly more than the other, it can lead to resentment from both sides; the higher earning spouse can feel that their partner is freeloading off of them, while the lower earning spouse can feel that their partner is too controlling.  In these situations, it can be almost impossible for former spouses to agree on a fair (or “equitable” in legal terms) way to divide their property or arrange for spousal support.  In divorce cases after long marriages where one spouse out-earned the other, courts often award alimony to enable the lower earning spouse to enjoy a lifestyle similar to what he or she enjoyed during the marriage.  As an increasing number of women hold high-paying jobs, an increasing number of alimony recipients are men.  If you want to make sure that the court will grant you your fair share of the nest egg you and your spouse built up together during your marriage, contact a Tennessee alimony lawyer.

Details of the Shackelford Case

Diane and Jerry Shackelford met while working for the Veterans’ Administration in Johnson City, Tennessee; Diane was a high-ranking pharmacist with a Ph.D., and Jerry was an uncertified pharmacy technician who had completed three semesters toward an associate’s degree.  They married in 1986, and their daughters Sarah and Hallie were born in 1992 and 1995, respectively.  The family moved several times to various states in the Southeastern United States as Diane got increasingly well-compensated jobs in administrative roles in the VA.  With each move, Jerry would spend the first few months as a stay-at-home dad before getting a job as a pharmacy technician.  He transported the children to and from school and acted as a parent chaperone for their Girl Scouting events, including cookie sales.

When the family returned permanently to Tennessee in 2002, Jerry took a job in the deli department at a supermarket, where he earned $10 per hour.  Several financial issues became sticking points in their marriage.  Diane always wanted Jerry to take the national exam that would qualify him for higher paid pharmacy technician jobs, but he never did.  Furthermore, Jerry gave Hallie money to buy a car, although the parents had agreed that the money should only be used for her education, and she had dropped out of college.  Jerry retired in 2014, reasoning that his income from Social Security benefits would be the same as he could make by continuing to work.

When Diane filed for divorce in 2017, the court ordered her to pay pendente lite alimony to cover household bills and Jerry’s cell phone, but when the divorce was final, the alimony obligations stopped.  Jerry, who had to take a job as a janitor, appealed the decision, and the appeals court awarded him alimony.

Let Us Help You Today

Alimony discussions can get messy after a 30-year marriage, but a family law attorney can help you find a solution.  Contact Knoxville alimony attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.




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