Alcohol and Drug Abuse Can Affect Alimony Payments in Tennessee

Alcohol and Drug AbuseAlimony, sometimes called spousal support, is awarded to a spouse by a judge. Unless you and your spouse have worked out a plan in your Marital Dissolution Agreement, the process of awarding alimony is an entirely subjective one: a judge is not forced to award alimony to anyone.

However, if you file under certain grounds, your chance at receiving alimony (or having to pay alimony) may be affected. If, for example, your marriage is dissolving because your spouse is an alcoholic or drug addict, a judge may be less likely to award alimony payments to your spouse.

How fault affects spousal support

It is important to note that alimony is not supposed to be punitive: judges don’t ward money to “punish” one spouse for alleged bad behavior. The award is supposed to help the financially dependent spouse get back up on his or her feet, or – in certain extenuating circumstances – to help one spouse live in a more safe and secure way than would have been possible without the award. However, when a couple has been married a long time, many Tennessee family court judges will weigh the grounds for the divorce more heavily in their decisions.

That being said, spouse may have a harder time obtaining alimony if they:

  • Are habitually drunk or under the influence of drugs
  • Have committed violent acts against their partner
  • Have committed adultery

On the other hand, it is also possible for a judge to rule in the exact opposite way – that a spouse with a serious drug or alcohol problem will need additional support in order to fight the addiction and live a normal, productive life. It all depends on the judge who reviews and decides upon your case.

Whether you are pursuing alimony or fighting against a spouse trying to claim it from you, you want a lawyer who understands how to help. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, you work with a skilled Franklin family law attorney who can offer you options for moving forward. Please contact us to schedule an appointment at our offices in Franklin, Columbia or Brentwood.