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Modification of alimony in the state of Tennessee -- Part II

In the state of Tennessee, alimony can be one of four types -- rehabilitative alimony, transitional alimony, alimony in futuro or alimony in solido. According to state law, it is possible to modify alimony orders by proving that a "substantial and material change of circumstances" has occurred in the obligor's or the recipient's life. This procedure applies to all types of alimony in Tennessee except for alimony in solido, which cannot be modified under any circumstances.

It is possible to seek a modification in alimony in futuro after a recipient or obligor is able to prove that a change in life's circumstances justifies the need for alimony modification. However, alimony in futuro obligation cannot be modified once that agreement has already ended. Again, if it is found that a third party, who is residing with an alimony in futuro recipient and contributing toward supporting that recipient, or vice-versa, then courts in Tennessee will consider such a futuro modification, either in favor of the obligor or the recipient.

Rehabilitative alimony, for the most part, remains in the control of the courts. The court has the power to increase, decrease, extend, terminate or otherwise modify rehabilitative alimony. However, the recipient must prove that all measures for rehabilitation have already been taken and that these measures have failed. In some cases, if the court sees that a recipient is not cooperating with the rehabilitation efforts, it may stop payments of rehabilitative alimony. On the other hand, if a court sees that awarding rehabilitative alimony is not possible, it may instead grant the recipient alimony in futuro.

Transitional alimony, in most cases, cannot be modified except under three circumstances. First, if both separating spouses include the possibility of a transitional alimony modification in their divorce agreement; second, if the court includes a provision for modifying transitional alimony in the divorce judgment; and third, if the alimony recipient is residing with a third person who is either financially supporting the alimony recipient or is receiving financial support from the alimony recipient. Depending on the situation, a Tennessee court can issue an order for modification of transitional alimony.

Source: TNAlimony.org, "Alimony Bench Book," Accessed on Jan. 23, 2015

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