Alimony and Spousal Support
Understand Georgia Alimony Laws
In Georgia, alimony payments may become part of how the marital property distribution is awarded. Alimony, or spousal support, is not a guaranteed award, and is not available if the spouse desiring support payments is guilty of adultery or desertion.
Eligibility for alimony in Georgia is not an automatic and guaranteed part of the divorce. Certain conditions, such as adultery, can completely nullify any rights to request spousal support. Generally speaking, spousal support is awarded in long term marriages, where one spouse has been the sole income provider and the other spouse has minimal or no income earning potential.
Calculating Spousal Support Amounts
In Georgia, the calculation of any spousal support award is highly subjective and somewhat arbitrary. The basis for any award of spousal support (alimony) is supposed to be based on "need" and "ability to pay". Spousal support is more common in long term marriages – those that have lasted more than 10 years. There is no set formula to determine spousal support payment amounts.
How Long You Must Pay
The length of time that you will have to pay spousal support varies is often approximately 1/3 the length of the marriage. It is possible to stop paying support sooner for conditions such as your spouse becomes financially self sufficient through a job, inheritance, financial windfall, new marriage. Being at the judge’s discretion, you need a competent attorney to get the best results.
Penalties for Non-Payment of Support
The penalties for failure to pay spousal support vary from admonishment to jail time. It is common for a payment to sometimes be slightly late however habitual tardiness, or outright failure to pay, can place you in Contempt and lead to jail time. Additionally your wages may be garnished (if you are able to keep your job). Non-payment due to hardship may be grounds for a Modification.
Do You Need a Alimony Modification?
If your income has changed drastically or ex-spouse is making more, you may need a alimony modification to change the amount you're paying or collecting.