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Alimony Trends In Georgia


Up until around 1980, there was no real provision for alimony in Georgia’s divorce law. The court could award it if it saw fit, but no law existed that considered it a matter of course to do so. Nowadays, alimony in Georgia is more codified, but there are still specific criteria that have to be met in order for a divorcing spouse to receive it. If you are unsure, there are ways to determine whether or not you will likely be eligible.

Permanent Alimony Not As Common

Unlike in many other states, Georgia courts are less likely in general to award what is usually called permanent alimony (that is, alimony granted to one ex-spouse by the other until remarriage or death), preferring to grant what is referred to as “rehabilitative” alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is defined as alimony paid to an ex-spouse for a set period of time, usually until the ex-spouse has had a chance to set themselves up in their own home and get their life on track. Alternatively, it can sometimes be granted to a spouse who left the workforce for a time, in order to obtain any credentials or update their education to ease their entry back into the workforce. Sometimes, Georgia courts will also award temporary or “pendente lite” alimony, but this is only during the proceedings themselves.

If permanent alimony is granted during a divorce, it is usually because one spouse is of more advanced age than the other, or one spouse may have a disability or mental illness. It may also be granted after the conclusion of a very long marriage. A shorter marriage will be seen in Georgia courts as less deserving, especially in the case of a homemaker spouse, since fewer years have likely passed for any expertise or credentials usable in the workforce to grow antiquated.

Multiple Factors Weigh On Decision

If a person is deemed to be eligible for alimony, the court has a list of factors that it is authorized and even encouraged to entertain in deciding whether or not to make the grant (and if so, how much to award). In addition to the factors laid out in the law, it may also weigh any other “relevant factors as the court deems equitable [fair] and proper.” This does give the court a fair amount of power, especially since in some situations the court is permitted to take notice of the conduct of the parties toward each other.

Some of the listed factors include the duration of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the current financial resources of both the couple and any separate property owned by each spouse, the future earning potential of each spouse, and the contributions of each spouse to the marriage in terms of time and sacrifice. While the court must obviously entertain any relevant factor, a request for modification can be made if you believe the court has made an error in its determination, or every two years even if nothing has changed in your particular circumstances.

Contact An Experienced Alimony Attorney

Because Georgia courts are less likely to award permanent alimony than they perhaps once were, it is a good idea to go into a divorce with a knowledgeable attorney on your side. The Atlanta divorce lawyers at Buckhead Family Law are aware of the changes and moods of the court, and will put their experience to work for you. Contact our office today at 404-600-1403 to set up an appointment.

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