Nashville Divorce Lawyer: Know Your Alimony

Nashville Divorce Lawyer Alimony

There’s no one type of alimony, so how do you know which is right for you? Have a Nashville Divorce Lawyer assess your case and decide what type of alimony is best suited to protect your livelihood and future!

What type of alimony did I say?
Averitte v. Averitte, M2012-00738-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 29, 2013)
The alimony stated in your Marital Dissolution Agreement may not be the alimony you are actually paying. The Court of Appeals affirmed a long line of cases wherein the alimony classification was determined not by what the parties stated in their Marital Dissolution Agreement but by how the alimony payments were structured.

Alimony in Solido vs. Alimony in Futuro
The dispute arises between Alimony in Solido versus Alimony in Futuro. Limited review: alimony in solido is a “lump sum” payment, “often” used to equalize the distribution of the marital estate or provide a definite amount of long term support. It is non-modifiable except by agreement of the parties. Alimony in Futuro is long term support, remains in the court’s control, is modifiable by either party, and terminates on the death of either party or the remarriage of the receiving spouse. The total amount of alimony in future is undefined.

The Problem in Averitte
In Averitte v. Averitte, the problem was in the language of the Marital Dissolution Agreement. The section on alimony said “Husband agrees to pay Wife periodic alimony in the amount of $1,200 for a period of 7 years, which is 84 months . . . .” After the divorce, as is often the case, Wife remarried. Husband claimed he was paying alimony in futuro and filed to terminate his alimony because Wife remarried. Wife claimed Husband was paying alimony in solido and therefore alimony could not be terminated. And the lawyers rejoiced!

The Answer, or how Husband lost his case.
The court of appeals looked at the structure of the payments to resolve the dispute about what “periodic” actually meant. The Marital Dissolution Agreement stated a definite amount of money paid in a definite amount of time. The Marital Dissolution Agreement did not state any conditions of terminating the support. Because the amount of alimony paid was determinable upon the entry of the order, and there were no conditions to terminate or modify in the agreement, the court held that—in this Agreement—the alimony had to be classified as Alimony in Solido. Thus Husband’s claim failed and Wife will receive payments from Husband despite her remarriage.

Landmine in the Marital Dissolution Agreement
When drafting Marital Dissolution Agreements, demand that your attorney classify any alimony payments received or paid. Merely calling an alimony payment “periodic” sets everyone up for another extensive legal battle. Attorney’s should also take note: they should not wiggle around with language regarding alimony because it could set their clients up for an unpleasant surprise.

As one of the best teams of Nashville divorce lawyers, Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett makes a point of paying attention to the details of the type of alimony (there are four possible classifications under Tennessee Law—do you know them all?) as a means of ensuring that the best possible type and amount is awarded to our clients.


The attorneys of Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, are experienced in the interpretation and application of Tennessee family laws and have been committed to protecting the financial and parental rights of men and women in Franklin and throughout Middle Tennessee for more than 30 years. They bring a wealth of legal knowledge and experience to each case they handle, providing their clients with skilled representation in the areas of Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Prenuptial Agreements, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Music/Intellectual Property, and Juvenile Court.

Nashville Child Support Lawyers: The Importance of a Child Support Strategy

Nashville child support lawyers

When a couple divorces, their dependent children can be greatly affected emotionally. Their day to day lives can change in regards to where they live, who they live with, where they attend school, and how frequently they see their non-custodial parent. As Nashville child support lawyers, we see firsthand how tough divorce is on the family. The last thing the children need is to have their lives compromised by the financial aspect of their parents’ split. As much as possible the law tries to keep the lives of these children free of financial burden so that as much routine as possible is retained and they can at least continue on with their normal educational and extracurricular activities.

Under Tennessee child support laws, it is required that children are supported by both parents. This means that in the case of divorce one spouse is court ordered to pay alimony and child support to the other. Failure to pay child support in Tennessee is a serious matter. In cases where the person failing to make payments has no financial problems limiting them from doing so there can be costly penalties and in some cases even jail time. In fact this past November 2012, Tennessee saw a case of the highest amount of child support ever owed by one individual in the country. A Tennessee man who allegedly failed to pay child support for 21 years was arrested by authorities on felony charges of grand theft against his children, owing them more than $600,000.

Keep you and your family out of trouble by laying out a child support strategy early in the divorce process. As experienced Nashville child support lawyers we recommend considering the following in your approach:

Familiarize yourself with the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. Every detail matters so if you have questions regarding any of these guidelines make sure to contact your Nashville child support lawyers so that they can help you reach a better understanding.

Maximize the amount used for the other parent’s income. Because child support is largely calculated by both parents’ monthly gross income before taxes it’s important to not short change the amount of money your soon to be former spouse brings home as doing so might put you at a costly disadvantage.

Consider all extra expenses your children may need. It’s important to not only think about what your children need now but what your children will need along their journey towards adulthood. This includes everything from extracurricular activities to higher education and personal enrichment such as travel. Maybe you’ve already begun to set aside funds for this purpose but if you are having trouble thinking that far ahead Nashville child support lawyers are always helpful resources to consult with.

Make sure to calculate your children’s expenses as accurately as possible. To be extra prepared it may even be a good idea to use a child support calculator to see how different inputs (both high and low amounts) impact the final amount.

If you find yourself in a situation where your spouse is failing to pay child support or trying to deny you visitation rights, the Nashville child support lawyers of Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett can advise you of the various legal actions you can take. We are committed to helping you and your family continue on the road to a happy, healthy life full of opportunity.


The attorneys of Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, are experienced in the interpretation and application of Tennessee family laws and have been committed to protecting the financial and parental rights of men and women in Franklin and throughout Middle Tennessee for more than 30 years. They bring a wealth of legal knowledge and experience to each case they handle, providing their clients with skilled representation in the areas of Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Prenuptial Agreements, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Music/Intellectual Property, and Juvenile Court.

Why Hire a Nashville QDRO Lawyer?

Nashville QDRO Lawyer Cheatham Palermo & Garrett Law

Naturally, married couples plan for retirement together. They both contribute their hard earned dollars to a 401K and work hard to earn pension plan benefits so that they can one day retreat to a sandy beach somewhere where they can spend the rest of their years in peace–stress and job free. When couples no longer feel their relationship is working and decide to go their separate ways every one of these plans is affected. At the time of divorce, it is imperative that all retirement accounts are carefully scrutinized and not just by anyone but by an experienced Nashville QDRO lawyer.

Why is it in your best interest to hire a Nashville QDRO lawyer? Well the fact is is that retirement funds that are added to your 401k or pension plan are usually treated as marital property, meaning that both spouses are entitled to the profit. This is great until a couple decides to end their marriage and these retirement assets need to be divided up–a process that can be a very troublesome one indeed. The separation of assets does not automatically extend to common retirement plans and there are many thorny issues to contend with, especially when dividing a pension plan. Therefore the division of 401K plans as well as many pension plans require a court ordered Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

If you find that you are in need of a QDRO it is extremely beneficial to hire a Nashville QDRO lawyer who really understands the rules governing QDROs as well as the complexity of constantly changing retirement plans. Though you can file the paperwork independently, there are specific legal criteria that you must be aware of. Taking a generalized approach to drafting a QDRO is something to be avoided as it can result in an improper division of benefits, loss of important rights under a plan and a total or partial loss of benefits upon the death of the participant. The spouse with a retirement plan and financial stability can lose a lot via a QDRO. Because the stakes can be very high and even the slightest slip-up could result in an unfavorable outcome, it is a good idea to seek the assistance of an experienced Nashville QDRO lawyer as sometimes another asset can be negotiated to be traded in place of the QDRO.

Don’t jeopardize your standing by trying to take care of dividing your and your spouse’s assets yourself. Call on the highly knowledgeable Nashville QDRO lawyer, Jimmy Helton, (615) 790-0982 and start settling your finances today! The longer you wait the more you risk being left with nothing in the long run.


The attorneys of Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, are experienced in the interpretation and application of Tennessee family laws and have been committed to protecting the financial and parental rights of men and women in Franklin and throughout Middle Tennessee for more than 30 years. They bring a wealth of legal knowledge and experience to each case they handle, providing their clients with skilled representation in the areas of Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Prenuptial Agreements, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Music/Intellectual Property, and Juvenile Court.