When Can I Stop Paying Alimony?

What Is Alimony?

Tennessee courts have the authority to award alimony, or “spousal support,” to an economically disadvantaged spouse. The purpose of alimony is to help a spouse maintain their standard of living as they adjust to a post-divorce lifestyle. For example, rehabilitative alimony can help a former spouse increase their earning capacity by facilitating their pursuit of new educational and career opportunities. Alternatively, the court may award “alimony in solido” to account for an imbalance in property division.

The paying spouse may be able to stop making alimony payments per “alimony in future” under the following conditions:

  1. The receiving spouse passes away
  2. The receiving ex cohabitates with a new romantic partner
  3. The receiving spouse gets remarried

The paying spouse can also modify or terminate their alimony order if they can prove a lasting or permanent change in their financial circumstances. Of course, this also means that the receiving spouse has a legal right to request an increase in support if they’re struggling financially. A judge will review the paying spouse’s income and earning capacity before modifying a support order to the benefit of either party.

How Can I Terminate My Alimony Order?

Job loss, medical emergencies, and other significant life events can make it impossible for you to make payments and still maintain your standard of living. However, you can’t just stop making payments. In Tennessee, you can face serious civil and criminal charges for violating a court order. In fact, the court may even sentence you to prison if your ex can prove that you’re purposely dodging payments. If you can’t afford to pay spousal support, you can pursue a modification or termination through the court.

To stop making alimony payments – assuming you have grounds to do so, you’ll first need to file a motion to terminate alimony at your local circuit or chancery court clerk’s office. During a court-scheduled hearing, you’ll have an opportunity to prove that your financial circumstances warrant a change in alimony. However, you can avoid a hearing if your former spouse agrees to change the order. In which case, you both need to sign a formal document and submit it to the court clerk’s office for approval.

Explore Your Legal Options Today

If you have questions about alimony or need to terminate an existing order, contact the Clarksville alimony attorneys at Patton | Pittman today. Our team has over 75 years of collective experience and is proud to consistently deliver practical and effective legal services to clients throughout Tennessee. During your appointment, we can evaluate your personal and financial circumstances, explain your options, and develop a case strategy that reflects your legal objectives. Throughout the duration of your case, you can trust Patton | Pittman to effectively represent your interests and guide you through this critical legal process.

Contact Patton | Pittman at (931) 361-4477 to schedule a free consultation.

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