If my husband and I have been married 14 years and have lived together for 18 years, what am I entitled to receive as far as help?

We have 2 daughters and custody of my niece. I am between jobs right now and have absolutely no resources. He took my name off our joint checking account a little over a year ago. I have never lived on my own and have been a stay at home mom over half our marriage. I have no family for support and have no idea what to do.

Asked on July 23, 2012 under Family Law, Tennessee


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation but do not despair.  I would advise that you seek legal help as soon as possible.  First, assets aquired during the marriage are marital assets regardless of whose name they are under.  SO that joint account is yours too.  The problem is access so you need help to firce that issue.  Next, Tennessee is an equiatble distribution state which means that marital assets are divided equitably not equally.  Your will get child support if you are the cusotdial parent.  He can not opt out of that.  As for spousal support here is the law:

The court may award alimony to be paid by one spouse to the other, or out of either spouse's property, according to the nature of the case and the circumstances of the parties. The court may award rehabilitative alimony, periodic alimony, transitional alimony, or lump sum alimony, or a combination of these, taking the following factors into consideration:

  • The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party.
  • The relative earning capability of each party, and the necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party's earnings capacity to a reasonable level.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The age, mental, and physical condition of each party, including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic debilitating disease.
  • Whether the custodial parent is unable to work outside the home due to the care of a minor child.
  • The separate assets of each party.
  • The property apportioned to the party.
  • The standard of living established during the marriage.
  • The contributions as a homemaker and to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
  • The relative faulty of the parties.
  • Any other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.


[Based on Tennessee Code - Title 36, Sections 36-5-121]

Good luck.

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