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Alimony, or spousal support, is when one spouse financially supports the other during or after a divorce. Courts typically order the higher earner to pay alimony to the other spouse for a transitional period after separation to make certain of economic equality in a divorce. Temporary, or “pendente lite”, alimony is while the divorce is being processed, but the court may also order temporary or permanent alimony after the divorce has been finalized. The spouse paying alimony usually pays in one lump-sum amount or through periodic payments. However, permanent alimony is not frequently ordered; generally, Georgia courts see alimony as only being paid during a temporary state while the individuals are readjusting to separate lives. But special circumstances due to poor health and age related concerns can warrant legitimate need for permanent alimony also.
For the court to award alimony one spouse must be able to pay and one spouse must demonstrate a financial need. Georgia courts also consider if the spouse requesting for alimony has contributed to a significant reason to the dissolution of the marriage; if found guilty of such activity, the individual may be prevented from receiving alimony. The judge of the case holds great power in settling alimony in most cases because there are no set specific state guidelines for enforcement. However, a general method is to take one-quarter to one-third of the marriage length for alimony payment. Alimony decisions are more ordinarily seen among long-term marriages, which are marriages that exceed ten years in length.
Alimony agreements can be modified if there is significant circumstantial change or if the recipient remarries or engages in a new marriage-like relationship. Periodic alimony payments are tax-deductible for the payer and taxable for the recipient, but lump-sum payments are typically treated as property dispersals and therefore not taxable nor deductible.
Alimony, or spousal support, occurs when one spouse financially supports the other during and/or after the divorce.
Alimony can be paid in installments or by a lump sum payment, however, permanent alimony is not frequently granted by the court. Usually, the judge will order alimony be paid until the spouse can obtain an education or job adequate to supporting themselves.
At the most basic level, the primary requirement for awarding alimony / spousal support is that one party demonstrates need and the other demonstrates ability to pay.
The court uses the following additional criteria in determining eligibility for alimony / spousal support:
Income and property of each party: alimony is most likely to be deemed necessary when there is a substantial difference in the amount of income/property between one spouse and the other.
Earning capacity of each party: the present and future earning capacity of each of the spouses is another factor the courts take into consideration when deciding whether to grant alimony and whether it will be of a rehabilitative nature or otherwise. The court may provide alimony to the lesser earning spouse in order to enable them to pursue education or training that would increase their earning capacity.
Impairments in earning capacity: the court can grant permanent alimony to a spouse who has little or no earning capacity. Circumstances that may warrant this decision include age or chronic illness. Additionally, if the receiving party has taken the primary role of caregiver/house maker, enabling the other party to build a career, the court may order permanent alimony to make up for the difference in earning potentials.
Children at home: if there are young children in the home and one of the spouses has been the primary caregiver, the court may then require alimony be paid so that the party can continue that role. After the children are in school, the court may order alimony be paid so the spouse can work part-time. However, if both spouses were working prior to the divorce, this may not be the case, as the court will expect the situation to remain similar to the pre-divorce conditions.
Ability of the payor to pay: if the income of both spouses is similar or the better off spouse only has a moderate income, this could mean little or no alimony is granted. The court takes into account both the needs of the parties but also the abilities to pay.
Standard of living during the marriage: the standard of living prior to divorce is a factor to be considered when granting alimony. However, if that standard was acquired by incurring debts, the court will not expect the paying party to incur debt to keep the standard. It is, however, in the advantage of the party seeking alimony to present evidence reflecting a prosperous lifestyle.
Duration of marriage: usually, the longer the marriage, the greater the likelihood of alimony. When young children are involved, the length of the marriage may be secondary to the decision to grant alimony, as the welfare of the children will be the primary concern of the court.
Premarital agreements / fault: the court will take into consideration premarital or post marital agreements made by the parties and the fault assigned to the divorce in deciding whether to grant alimony.
Our Atlanta Georgia uncontested divorce lawyers and attorneys handle cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Marietta, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Gainseville, Midtown Atlanta, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Kennesaw, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings, and Smyrna.
Our Atlanta Georgia uncontested divorce attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette and Clayton.
Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Atlanta Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Immigration, Bankruptcy and Business Law. We have two convenient offices located at:
Alpharetta Georgia Office
5755 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Atlanta Georgia Office
659 Auburn Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30312
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