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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Alimony > Tennessee Courts Have the Option to Award Permanent Alimony Even If Your Ex-Spouse Has a Job

Tennessee Courts Have the Option to Award Permanent Alimony Even If Your Ex-Spouse Has a Job


The stereotypical image of an ex-spouse who receives permanent alimony is a little old lady who has never worked outside the home and whose only employment options are low-paying job such as being a greeter at Walmart or a cashier at a fast food restaurant.  In fact, almost all alimony recipients are women, regardless of the type of alimony, although the percentage of male recipients of alimony is increasing.  Most women who receive permanent alimony are over 50, since permanent alimony is only available when the parties were married at least 17 years, and the majority of them spent many years as stay-at-home mothers.  Given that women’s participation in the workforce is almost universal, though, a lot of permanent alimony decisions involve a woman who is employed at the time of her divorce and has worked intermittently throughout the marriage.  Because her former husband’s income and earning potential are so much higher than hers, though, the court opts for permanent alimony, as continued support from her ex-husband is the only way she can have a standard of living similar to the one she had before her divorce.  If permanent alimony is a possibility in your divorce case, or if the court has already ordered permanent alimony, but you need to modify the amount, contact a Tennessee alimony lawyer.

Permanent Alimony for a Real Estate Agent with Complex Health Problems

Brenda and Ray Shooster got married in 1981; by the time their divorce became final in 2006, Brenda was 53 years old, and Ray was 46.  Brenda spent many years as a stay-at-home parent, but she had worked, when her parenting responsibilities allowed it, in various retail and administrative jobs, earning hourly wages between $7 and $9.  In 2004, about a year before she and Ray separated, she earned a real estate license.  At first she worked for a large real estate firm, but later went to work with a friend who had started a new realty.  Her real estate work income was commissions only.

The court ordered Ray to pay Brenda permanent alimony in the amount of $1,500 per month.  It also ordered him to pay for her health insurance and maintain a life insurance policy with Brenda as the beneficiary.  Brenda had multiple health issues, including allergies so severe she needed injections every few weeks to control them, an inherited disorder of the joints, a heart valve problem, and a history of breast lumps, which required her to have mammograms every three months instead of once per year.  The trial court ruled, and the appeals court affirmed, that Brenda’s medical expenses and the variability in her income meant that she genuinely needed Ray to provide her with alimony and health insurance.

Contact Us Today for Help

The court will consider your health and employment history when determining alimony awards, whether or not you currently have a job.  Contact Knoxville alimony attorney Patrick L. Looper for help today.




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