Man questioning the award of lifetime alimony to ex-wife

There are several factors that are considered when awarding alimony. Factors such as length of marriage, age of both spouses, and current income are only a few that judges look at when making a decision.

As we've seen in previous posts, the purpose of alimony is to provide financial stability to one spouse while transitioning from marriage to living on his or her own. One man was ordered to pay his ex-wife alimony and appealed the order claiming that paying her alimony for life was not appropriate given the situation.

The man and his ex-wife went through a bitter divorce a few years ago. Their state's court ordered that the man pay over $1000 to his ex-wife each month. Both were in their early 40s when the divorce was made official and had been working for years. In fact, both had relatively high incomes when they separated.

If the alimony award is upheld, the man could potentially pay over $600,000 in spousal support to someone who appears to be able to support themselves. Even though he makes more money than her, should the spousal support award be upheld?

While the court is considering factors such as college education and training that each spouse has had, another option would be to adjust the length of time that the alimony is paid. The biggest concern is whether the ex-wife would be disadvantaged due to the income disparity. Should the award be more of a transitional alimony instead of payments for life?

Until the court reaches a decision, it will be unclear whether this particular case will impact the way alimony can be awarded in the future in this state and whether other states will follow in suit.

Source: Westport News online, "Tenn. Supreme Court hears lifetime alimony case,"Sheila Burke, 02 June 2011

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