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How does Georgia determine alimony payments?

You put your career on hold when you and your ex-spouse decided to have children. Now your marriage is ending, you have a family to take care of and you have been out of the workforce for a few years.

You are not only emotionally distressed over losing your spouse, you are worried about re-entering the workforce and maintaining your standard of living. What financial help can you anticipate given Georgia’s alimony laws?

The promise of protection

Georgia law looks to protect individuals whose divorce leaves them financially vulnerable. Depending upon both partners’ circumstances, the court may award one partner temporary or permanent alimony support.

  • Temporary support: In many marriages, one spouse takes care of the home while the other spouse works full-time. After divorce, the domestic spouse may struggle to re-enter the workforce and need additional training or education to attain viable employment. In this case, the court may award temporary alimony until the domestic spouse establishes their career.
  • Permanent support: In some cases, a spouse may not be able to re-enter the workforce either due to poor health, disability or old age. In this circumstance, they may be entitled to permanent alimony support. Even permanent alimony support may terminate if the dependent spouse re-marries or if their personal circumstances change.

Factors that impact a court’s decision

You are not automatically entitled to alimony, and awarded alimony amounts are far from uniform. To receive any alimony, you must be able to demonstrate need for financial support.

The court takes a number of factors into account when determining alimony including:

  • You and your ex-spouse’s financial situation, education and career history
  • Your expected standard of living
  • The length of your marriage
  • How long it would take the dependent spouse to establish their career (including time for education or training)
  • What each of you contributed during the marriage
  • You and your ex-spouse’s mental and emotional health

Alimony timing

Depending upon the situation, Georgia courts may award alimony during the divorce process, or after the divorce process finalizes. It is more common for Georgia to award post-divorce alimony in order to help one spouse as they work toward financial independence and security.

Most alimony payments are made in monthly installments, but some couples opt to make one lump sum payment. A lump sum payment is a popular choice for couples looking to quickly move on from the divorce process.

If you are heading towards divorce and are worried about your financial future, contact an attorney who can discuss the possibility of alimony with you and help you fight for the payments you deserve.

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