Alimony - how to stay on your feet during and after a divorce
If you are going through a divorce in Georgia, you may have heard the term alimony thrown around. Alimony refers to the court-ordered financial support that one spouse pays to the other spouse after a divorce or separation - and sometimes pays while the case is still pending. In Georgia, alimony is not a given, but rather is determined on a case-by-case basis. When deciding whether to award alimony, judges may consider a variety of factors such as each spouse's income and earning potential, the length of the marriage, and the standard of living during the marriage. Ultimately, the goal of alimony is to ensure that both spouses are able to maintain a similar standard of living to what they enjoyed during the marriage, at least in the short term. If you have questions about alimony or other aspects of divorce in Georgia, it may be helpful to consult with an experienced family law attorney.
In the state of Georgia, alimony is a legal allowance to support a spouse who is living separately from their partner. This financial assistance can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances surrounding the separation. Additionally, this support can happen while a case for divorce, separation, or abandonment is ongoing, and continue after the case is finalized. While the legal definition of alimony may seem straightforward, navigating the process of obtaining it can be complex and emotionally challenging. Just because alimony is allowed to be issued by the court, it is not a guarantee, and you can be denied alimony in certain cases. If you or someone you know is facing a separation or divorce and is in need of assistance, seeking the guidance of a professional legal team may provide the comfort and support needed during this difficult time.
Factors the Court Looks at to Determine Alimony
In Georgia, the courts look at several factors to determine whether or not to award alimony to either party. These factors include an examination of the needs of the requesting party and the ability of the other party to pay. Additionally, the conduct of each party towards the other is taken into consideration.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) Section 19-6-5, these factors include:
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;
- The financial resources of each party;
- Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him to find appropriate employment;
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;
- The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties; and
- Such other relevant factors as the court deems equitable and proper.
While alimony is authorized, it's not required to be awarded. It's essential to have a good understanding of these factors and consult with legal counsel to determine the best course of action.
Blocks to Receiving Alimony
When a marriage is ending, many people in Georgia turn to alimony as a financial safety net. However, there are certain blocks that can impede a party from receiving this support. According to Georgia law, a party cannot receive alimony if their actions - specifically, adultery or desertion - contributed to the separation. This means that even if a party is seeking a divorce, the court will still examine the reason behind the split in determining alimony eligibility. While this may seem daunting, it's important to remember that this process is in place to ensure fairness and equity for both parties involved.
Temporary versus Permanent Alimony
If you're going through a divorce in Georgia, understanding the different types of alimony can be crucial to your financial future. One of the main differences is between temporary and permanent alimony awards. Temporary alimony is awarded during the divorce or legal separation proceedings and is intended to cover expenses until a final verdict or order is reached in the case. It's important to note that temporary alimony is not guaranteed and may not be awarded in every case. Permanent alimony, on the other hand, is awarded after the divorce or legal separation is finalized and is intended to provide ongoing financial support to a spouse who may require it. It's also important to know that just because it is called "permanent" alimony does not mean the paying spouse is on the hook forever to pay alimony to the receiving spouse. In fact, Georgia courts prefer to have set and defined time period for alimony payments and when they will end - though perpetual alimony is still seen in some cases. The permanent simply means the case is closed and the amount and time period is the order of the court. Understanding the differences between temporary and permanent alimony can help you make informed decisions during a divorce.
Alimony Obligation Continues after Paying Spouse Passes Away
In the state of Georgia, it's important to understand that alimony isn't just an obligation for the paying spouse during their lifetime. Even after their passing, the obligation can continue, which is why it's crucial to have a full understanding of your legal rights and responsibilities. If either party passes away before the court has made a final determination on the issue of alimony, the surviving party retains the right to receive alimony payments and can place a lien on the estate of the deceased spouse.
If the person responsible for paying permanent alimony passes away, after permanent alimony is ordered by the court, the other party will not receive any further benefits from the deceased person's assets based on their marriage contract. However, the permanent alimony obligation will continue to be paid to the other party, or an equivalent amount from the deceased person's estate will be provided to them.
When Alimony Ends
When it comes to alimony obligations in Georgia, it's important to know that they're not necessarily indefinite. In fact, a court can order that alimony payments only last for a certain period of time, such as three years. This decision is usually based on the financial capabilities and circumstances of both parties, and it can provide some much-needed relief for those who have been paying alimony. Additionally, it's worth noting that if the recipient of alimony remarries, they may no longer be eligible to receive those payments unless the court order specifically states otherwise. These rules can be complex, so it's important to consult with a qualified legal professional if you have any questions or concerns about your alimony obligations.
Modifying and Enforcing Alimony
If you're seeking to modify alimony or enforce it in Georgia, there are a few key steps to take. First, it's important to understand the legal process and requirements for modifying or enforcing a court order for alimony. This typically involves filing a motion with the court and presenting evidence to support your request. It's also a good idea to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through the process and advocate for your rights. Whether you're seeking to modify alimony payments due to a change in circumstances or enforce an existing order that hasn't been followed, there are options available to protect your interests. With the right legal representation and a clear understanding of your rights and obligations, you can pursue a fair and just outcome in any alimony case.
How We Can Help
At Your Law Firm, we understand that handling legal matters involving finances and divorce can be a trying and overwhelming experience. That is why we make it our top priority to provide our clients with the highest level of professionalism and compassion as we help them navigate complex legal issues. One such issue is alimony, which can be a contentious area of family law that requires expert guidance to ensure fair and equitable outcomes. Our experienced team has the knowledge and expertise to assist clients with establishing temporary or permanent alimony, as well as modifying or enforcing an existing award. We work closely with our clients to evaluate their unique circumstances and develop strategies that are tailored to their specific needs. At Your Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome in their legal matter.