Alimony, or spousal support, was a concept originally implemented when employment options for women were more limited. After a divorce, men were responsible for their ex-wives support. Now, alimony in Georgia and other states is maintained to protect economic fairness in the event of divorce. Understanding how alimony in Georgia is awarded and what types are available is important when discussing divorce proceedings.
Types of Alimony in Georgia:
- Temporary alimony is the most common form of alimony in Georgia. It is generally awarded for a specific period of time or in a specific amount as a rehabilitative measure in order to allow the receiving spouse time to obtain an income of their own – either within a previous job field or through education and training to reenter the job market.
- Permanent alimony remains in effect until the death of either spouse, the recipient’s remarriage, or the recipient enters into a new live-in committed relationship. Permanent alimony is generally reserved for those of advanced years or those who are unable to enter the job market due to disability or inability to ever obtain meaningful employment.
To be eligible for alimony in Georgia, the court must first find that one spouse is in need of financial support. There is no law outlining what calculations should be made to determine alimony payments, but the courts consider several factors including :
- The length of the marriage.
- The earning capacities of each spouse.
- Separate financial resources and debts.
- Contributions to the marriage (i.e. homemaking and childcare, education or career building).
- The standard of living during the marriage.
- The individual spouse’s ages.
- Physical and emotional conditions of each spouse.
- The amount of time needed to educate one or both spouses to increase job prospect and hireability.
Changes to Alimony in Georgia
Alimony can be modifiable or nonmodifiable. If the spouses agree, the alimony can be non-modifiable which means it cannot be changed. Otherwise, once alimony has been awarded, the court has the right to make adjustments or terminate alimony payments. To do so, there must be proof of a “significant change in circumstances”. In most cases, this means the person receiving alimony payments has become employed and their income increased to a point where the Court believes less or no alimony is warranted. If the alimony payer has been fired or laid off, this can also prompt adjustments to alimony in Georgia.
Understanding the rules governing alimony in Georgia can allow you to better decide if alimony is applicable in your situation, and if so, to discuss the appropriate amount with your attorney. Always consult a lawyer when moving forward with alimony proceedings as it’s important to have a professional on your side throughout the process.
Getting divorced in Georgia? The attorneys of Spooner & Associates, P.C. have years of experience dealing with family law issues, including alimony. Contact us to set up an initial consultation and to learn how we can help negotiate your alimony situation.
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