It’s often assumed that someone who makes a lot more money than his or her spouse will probably pay alimony in the event of a divorce.
But what if the lower-earning spouse still makes a nice living in his or her own right?
In those situations, alimony is not a guarantee, the Tennessee Supreme Court recently ruled.
In that case, a woman who made $72,000 a year working for the state divorced her husband, a company comptroller who earned between $120,000 and $140,000 a year.
The wife argued that since her husband’s income was so much higher, she was entitled to alimony.
But the court ruled that alimony is intended for situations where a spouse cannot, through reasonable efforts, earn enough money to have a standard of living reasonably comparable to what he or she enjoyed while married.
In this case, the wife had a strong earning history, and the court said there was no reason to think that on her own she couldn’t enjoy a standard of living comparable to what she had during the marriage.