Most of the general population may not know this, but the state of Georgia allows for more than a dozen grounds for divorce under the law. One of the 13 grounds for divorce is referred to as irretrievably broken – commonly known as a “no-fault” ground – while the remaining 12 grounds for divorce in Georgia are considered “fault” grounds. If you or someone you know has been served divorce papers in Georgia, there is a high likelihood you are considering – or will soon consider – alimony payments as part of the negotiations of the legal separation. Depending on where you stand, alimony is a positive or negative outcome of a divorce. No matter what side you are on, it is important for you to understand alimony in Georgia.
The general purpose of alimony is for one spouse to provide financial support to the other. When alimony payments are ordered by a Georgia court or agreed upon by the soon-to-be ex-spouses, the higher-earning spouse often makes monthly payments to the lower-earning spouse. These payments may occur during and after the divorce process.
For alimony to be awarded, the receiving spouse must establish that he or she truly needs the financial support from the partner and the paying partner is able to pay a specific amount for alimony. When a Georgia court determines the appropriate amount of alimony – or spousal support – other factors are taken into consideration including the:
- Length of the marriage;
- Spouse’s standard of living;
- Earning capacity of each spouse;
- Financial resources of each spouse;
- Age and wealth of each spouse;
- Length of time it will take the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient (if currently unemployed);
- Contribution of each spouse to the marriage, such as homemaking services, child care, career building, and education of the other spouse, among others; and
- Condition of the parties including fixed liabilities, earning capacity, and separate estates.
Beyond the above, a Georgia court may consider other relevant factors the court deems proper and equitable for the matter.
Types of Alimony in Georgia
A Georgia judge may award temporary alimony while the divorce proceedings are still pending. This is referred to as “Pendente Lite” alimony, meaning pending. Once a Georgia divorce is finalized, a family law judge may order temporary or permanent alimony. A court may order a paying spouse to make monthly or bi-weekly alimony payments or even in a lump sum.
There are multiple types of alimony in Georgia, including temporary and indirect. Temporary alimony typically involves a spouse receiving financial support for a specified period of time – typically while a divorce proceeding is pending. Of note, just because a spouse is awarded temporary alimony does not necessarily mean he or she will be awarded permanent alimony. Indirect alimony, on the other hand, is a less traditional method of spousal support. In this scenario, a spouse is required to pay for the other spouse’s direct expenses (such as car payments or mortgage payments) instead of paying the monies to the spouse. Finally, there are certain alimony arrangements in Georgia that include a spouse receiving multiple payments in the form of lump-sum payments, periodic payments, or a combination of the two.
Family Law Attorneys
Georgia’s alimony law is purposed to ensure the economic wellbeing of spouses who are at a financial disadvantage during a divorce. If you are facing divorce or have questions about alimony in Georgia, contact the experienced attorneys at Moffitt Law, LLC today.