Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lifetime Alimony in TN

From the Daily Journal:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on a case that could change the way alimony is awarded in the Volunteer State.

The case involves the bitter divorce of a former Hendersonville couple, Craig and Johanna Gonsewski (gahn-ZES-kee). In 2009, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ordered Craig Gonsewski to pay his former wife $1,250 a month in alimony. The payments were to last for life or until she remarries.

The ex-husband is appealing, claiming that the appellate court went too far by giving her that amount of money for life.

Some legal experts believe that if the award is allowed to stand it could signal more alimony awards in Tennessee. Other say the case is so narrow that any decision will have limited impact.

The case is different because it considers a lifetime alimony award for a wife who has a career and worked throughout the marriage and was in her 40s at the time of the divorce. Lawyers say most lifetime awards go to women over the age of 50 who have been married for decades and sacrificed their careers for family.

Read more here.


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Awarding alimony for life is unjust for the party that is ordered to pay. The purpose of alimony is not be provide a cruch for life. Alimony is designed to give the non-paying spouse enough time to 're-establish' themselves as productive members working society.

Posted by: Oklahoma City Divorce | Jul 12, 2011 5:21:29 PM

If alimony in Tenn. is awarded according to the strict letter of this new law, the outcomes are going to be unjust toward the paying spouse.

Posted by: Divorce Attorneys Tulsa | Sep 1, 2011 6:17:00 PM

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