What is the Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support?

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In Georgia, Alimony and Spousal Support are the same. There used to be a difference for income tax purposes, but that distinction disappeared several decades ago.

Generally, Troup County judges award alimony if one spouse has a financial need and the other spouse has the ability to pay. Note that there’s a difference between financial needs and financial wants. There’s also a big difference between the ability to pay and the willingness to pay. As outlined below, several different types of alimony are available.

Whether you are an obligor (person paying support) or an obligee (person receiving support) a Georgia family law attorney stands up for your legal and financial rights.

Amount of Payments

In some states, a set formula controls the amount of spousal support payments, at least in most cases. But Georgia uses a subjective list of factors, such as:

  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Relative future earning capacity of each spouse
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Noneconomic contributions to the marriage
  • Custody of minor children
  • Nonmarital property awards
  • Agreements between the parties

That last bullet might be the most significant one on the list. Most judges approve most informal settlement agreements.

Duration of Payments

Judges often award temporary alimony, especially if the obligee was unprepared for the divorce filing. Temporary spousal support helps these spouses take care of immediate financial needs, like attorneys’ fees and property deposits, which are directly related to the divorce. Temporary alimony awards expire when the judge finalizes the divorce.

“Permanent alimony,” which is post-divorce spousal support in Georgia, is usually not permanent or even long term. Some people need time to become economically self-sufficient. If the obligor is able to pay, the judge might continue alimony payments for a few years.

If a disability or other condition prevents an obligee from ever becoming self-sufficient, the judge might order continual payments.

Modifying Payments

Financial needs and abilities change over time. If the change is permanent and substantial, the judge might reduce, end, increase, or continue spousal support payments.

Emotional circumstances change as well. Typically, if the obligee remarries, the spousal support obligation ends. If the obligee has a long-term paramour, that relationship might end alimony payments, especially if that relationship includes financial support.

Alimony and spousal support are the same thing in Georgia. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in LaGrange, contact Moffit Law, LLC. Convenient payment plans are available.


Am I entitled to alimony in Georgia?

If you have an economic need, you are typically entitled to temporary and/or permanent alimony.

Do I have to pay spousal support in Georgia?

The judge may order you to pay temporary and/or permanent alimony if you have the ability to pay it.

How much child support do I have to pay in Georgia?

Usually, a set formula determines the amount of child support.

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