Spousal Support in Georgia
Spousal Support & Alimony
Learn About Alimony Or Spousal Support Laws In Georgia
Eligibility For Spousal Support
Spousal support, traditionally known as alimony, may be awarded to a divorcing spouse whether or not there are children involved in the divorce process.
In the State of Georgia, there is no certainty that alimony payments will become part of your divorce settlement. Spousal support is most often given to a person who has been part of a long-term marriage (over 10 years), and where one spouse has minimal odds of earning a livable income.
In Georgia, personal conduct issues such as abandonment or adultery nullify any right to petition for spousal support.
The State of Georgia does not have set system or formula for calculating support payments. Spousal support payments are calculated and awarded by the court in a relatively subjective and arbitrary manner. The basis for an award of support (alimony) is generally based on “the needs of one spouse” and “the ability to pay by the other spouse”.
What Factors are Considered for Awarding Spousal Support?
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- Receiving spouse’s earning potential, age and health
- Paying spouse’s earning capacity, financial status (savings and debts)
- Contributions to the marriage of value (other than income)
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary support is sometimes a possibility while a divorce case is being managed. This usually becomes an issue when a person has no or limited income and is expected to be living alone. The frequency for paying temporary support payments may be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Although it is highly likely to be included in the divorce settlement, temporary support may not be part of the final agreement.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent support is a slightly misleading term. Usually, support for a divorcing spouse is granted for only a limited amount of time. The general position of the court is that support money is short-term assistance, paid until the spouse can become financially self-sufficient.
Spousal Support Modifications
Support Modification is a hot topic throughout the time period where support payments are required. Paying support can end abruptly through a divorce modification process if the paying spouse can prove the situation of the receiving spouse has dramatically improved (i.e., new marriage, wins a lottery, receives an inheritance, etc.). The person paying support may be able to modify the dollar amount of monthly payments by proving chronic financial hardship. Life is unpredictable and a person’s income can change substantially. When conditions can be proven to directly impact the “need for” or “ability to pay” financial support, it may be wise to consider filing a support modification.
Contempt For Non-Payment Of Support
Occasionally being late on a support payment is rarely going to cause a legal problem. There will be legal problems if a person is habitually delinquent or refuses to comply with court-ordered payments. Failure to pay any court-mandated support is cause for arrest on charges of contempt of court. The penalties for not paying support payments can include fines and jail time – and the amount in arrears will still have to be paid.
For more information on spousal support in Georgia you should contact us to arrange for a consultation with an divorce attorney. We can advise you on your potential for obtaining spousal support, fighting spousal support, modifying support orders, filing or fighting contempt charges, and more. We offer expert divorce legal services for pre-divorce planning, filing and managing a divorce in Georgia, and managing post-divorce needs.