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Do you qualify for spousal support?

Gone are the days where a divorced woman could reliably count on a court's awarding her alimony payments from her ex. Now, not only is the awarding of spousal support decided on a case-by-case basis, under some circumstances, a Tennessee woman might have to pay support to her ex-husband.

Below are some considerations a judge applies when deciding whether to grant spousal support to either party.

In the most basic sense, spousal support may be granted when one party has a need for it and the other party has the means to pay it. But that is an oversimplification. Specifically, the court looks at circumstances such as:

-- Whether the party requesting support is employed, the amount he or she earns and the hours that he or she works.

-- Was there a prenuptial agreement on file for the marriage? What were its terms?

-- Did one spouse support the other at certain points during the marriage so the other could advance in a chosen career? (e.g., waitressing while putting a husband through med school, driving a taxi so a spouse could complete an MBA, etc)

-- What is the highest grade completed? Did you attend college and get a degree?

-- Prior to getting married, were you working? What was your salary and position?

-- Do you have health constraints that would impede employment? What are they?

-- What other barriers to gainful employment do you face? (e.g., no transportation, few marketable skills, taking care of children, etc.)

-- While your spouse advanced his or her career aims, did you put your own career on the back burner?

This list is not definitive; many other factors are at play when determining whether spousal support will be awarded. Make sure that your family law attorney understands all aspects of your circumstances in order to achieve the best outcome.

Source: FindLaw, "Are You Entitled To Alimony (Spousal Support)?," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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