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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Alimony > Permanent Alimony Should Not Undue Financial Hardship to the Supporting Spouse

Permanent Alimony Should Not Undue Financial Hardship to the Supporting Spouse


Even though divorce causes financial setbacks to nearly everyone who goes through it, the courts in Tennessee seek to distribute couples’ property in such a way that no one loses all the financial stability they had during the marriage.  Judges award permanent alimony when they consider it appropriate, usually only in marriages of long duration and in which one spouse was out of the workforce for a long time either because of illness or disability or because of childcare responsibilities.  Permanent alimony is not meant to punish the spouse who must pay it, and if the supporting spouse argues that the amounts he or she must pay are unnecessarily burdensome, the court may agree to modify the alimony agreement so that the amount paid becomes less, even if the alimony payments must still continue indefinitely.  If you think your alimony agreement is unfair, contact a Tennessee alimony lawyer.

Details of the Stratienko Case

Alex and Lisa Stratienko married in 1989, when Alex was completing a cardiology residency and Lisa was studying for a master’s degree and working in a hospital.  Until the birth of their first daughter, they were both employed.  After the child’s birth, Lisa left the workforce to care for her and for Alex’s parents, neither of whom could drive and one of whom had Alzheimer’s disease.  Alex opened a cardiology practice in 1999, and Lisa assisted him in the administration of the practice in an unpaid capacity, while also caring for the couple’s two children and Alex’s parents.  In the following years, the couple amassed considerable wealth and bought several real estate properties.  Alex became involved in various business disputes, and Lisa devoted a lot of time to help him with the legal proceedings.

The couple separated at the end of 2011, and Alex paid Lisa $5,000 per month to keep up with the expenses related to the family home, but the money was insufficient, so she had to use most of the money she had inherited from her father.  The parties had a long and acrimonious divorce, during which time their younger daughter reached the age of majority.  When the divorce was finalized in 2015, the court ordered Alex to pay Lisa $9,500 per month for the first ten years and $5,000 per month after that; it also required him to keep a $1,000,000 life insurance policy to secure his alimony obligations.  Alex appealed the decision, and the appeals court agreed to modify it to a $500,000 life insurance policy, but otherwise upheld the trial court’s decision.

Contact Patrick L. Looper About Alimony Cases

You may not be able to get out of paying permanent alimony if you were married for more than 20 years and your spouse spent the marriage caring for your family and business without pay.  You may, however, be able to reduce the amount of permanent alimony the court requires you to pay.  Contact Knoxville alimony attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.


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