My Former Spouse is in a New Relationship - Can I Stop Paying Alimony?

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22.4.2024

My Former Spouse is in a New Relationship—Can I Stop Paying Alimony?

Do you pay ongoing alimony to a spouse? Under Tennessee law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-121(f)), a court may grant a financially-disadvantaged spouse alimony in futuro—also known as periodic alimony or long-term alimony in a divorce. You may be wondering: Can I stop paying periodic alimony if my ex is in a new relationship? In Tennessee, the answer is “it depends.” Here, our Franklin alimony lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of your rights and your options if you believe that your former spouse has entered a new romantic relationship.

Did Your Former Spouse Remarried? You Can Terminate Alimony Immediately

Unless explicitly stated otherwise in your divorce settlement, your spouse remarriage automatically terminates your ongoing alimony obligations. Indeed, under Tennessee law, your former partner has a duty to notify you—if you are still paying alimony—and tell you that they are getting remarried. You are generally entitled to terminate your alimony payments immediately. In other words, you do not need a court order to terminate alimony when your spouse gets remarried.

Note: As the person paying alimony, your remarriage does not affect your obligations. You need to keep making payments even if you get remarried.

Did Your Former Spouse Enter a New Non-Marital Relationship? You May Be Able to Petition

If your former spouse entered a new non-marital relationship, you may or may not have the right to modify your alimony obligations. Here are the key points to know about Tennessee law:

● Simple Dating Relationship (Cannot End Alimony): Engaging in a new dating relationship does not typically qualify for the termination of alimony payments under Tennessee law. Paying alimony does not allow a person to dictate their former partner’s romantic life. That your ex went on a few dates with another person does not justify the end of alimony obligations in Tennessee.

● Supportive, Cohabitating Relationship (Can Often End Alimony): With that being said, a non-marital supportive (cohabitating) relationship is different. If your former spouse is not just dating but is in a supportive, cohabitating relationship, you may have grounds to petition for the termination of alimony payments. Tennessee courts consider whether the new relationship substantially alters the financial circumstances of the alimony recipient. For example, if the recipient is cohabitating with a new partner who significantly contributes to their living expenses or overall financial stability, a court may find that alimony is simply no longer justified.

Note: If your former spouse is in a non-marital cohabitation relationship, you cannot automatically stop paying alimony. You may petition the court to get your alimony obligations modified.

Contact Our Franklin, TN Alimony Attorney for a Confidential Case Review

At Campbell Perky Johnson, PLLC, our Franklin family law attorney has extensive experience handling complex alimony cases. If you have any questions about your rights and options if your former spouse has entered a new romantic relationship, please contact us today for a confidential case review. From our Franklin office, we provide family law representation in Nashville and throughout the wide region.