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Alimony | Spousal Support

When two spouses divorce one another in Georgia, the court may order one spouse to pay alimony/spousal support to the other. Additionally, after a divorce, an existing alimony/spousal support order may be modified or terminated in certain circumstances.

Alimony/spousal support can be a contentious issue in a divorce. To ensure it is addressed properly, it’s helpful to have proper legal assistance. Atlanta alimony/spousal support attorney Traci A. Weiss of Weiss Family Law is prepared to offer said assistance, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have an expert on your side.

In Georgia, there are three main types of alimony or spousal support that may be awarded in a divorce case:

  • Temporary Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded during the divorce proceedings and ends when the divorce is finalized. The purpose of temporary alimony is to provide financial support to the receiving spouse while the divorce is pending. Be aware, even if the court awards temporary alimony, this doesn’t guarantee the court will award another form of alimony beyond the divorce.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded for a specified period of time to help the receiving spouse become self-sufficient. To qualify for rehabilitative alimony, the receiving spouse must have a plan to become self-sufficient within a reasonable timeframe. For instance, they may have a plan to complete their education or receive training to obtain a job. If the receiving spouse fails to follow their plan or becomes self-sufficient earlier than expected, rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated.
  • Permanent Alimony: This type of alimony is paid on an ongoing basis to the receiving spouse until a specified event occurs, such as the death of either party or the remarriage of the receiving spouse. Permanent alimony is generally only awarded in cases where the receiving spouse is unlikely to be able to become self-sufficient. For example, a court may award permanent alimony if the receiving spouse is disabled, relatively old, or otherwise unlikely to find gainful employment to support themselves. A court may also account for the length of a marriage when determining whether permanent alimony is warranted.

In Georgia, lump sum alimony and periodic alimony are two different types of spousal support that may be awarded in a divorce case. The main difference between them is how the payments are made.

  • When lump sum alimony is awarded, one spouse must pay the other a specified sum of money. As the name implies, they can make this payment in the form of one lump sum, although they may also have the option to pay in installments over a period of time. The purpose of lump sum alimony is to support the division of marital property. This means that the total amount of lump sum alimony awarded is taken into consideration when dividing property and assets between the two spouses. Once the lump sum payment is made, there are no further payments required.
  • Periodic alimony, also known as ongoing alimony or spousal support, is paid on a recurring basis. It may be paid either indefinitely or for a set period of time. The purpose of periodic alimony is to provide financial support to the receiving spouse, particularly in cases where the receiving spouse is unable to support themselves. Periodic alimony payments can be made weekly, monthly, or in some other frequency as determined by the court.

When determining whether to award alimony/spousal support and the amount and duration of such support, a Georgia court will consider a variety of factors as established under Georgia law. These factors include:

  • The standard of living that had been established during the marriage
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Each spouse’s age
  • Each spouse’s physical and emotional condition
  • Each spouse’s overall financial resources (including income and assets)
  • The approximate amount of time that may be needed for the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient
  • The contributions each spouse made to the marriage (such as child care, support of the other spouse’s education or career, etc.)
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • Any other relevant factor that the court deems just and proper

Alimony is not an automatic right and is not awarded in every divorce case. Instead, the court will consider the specific circumstances of each case to determine whether alimony is appropriate and, if so, the amount and duration of such support, taking into consideration the needs of the party to receive such support, and the ability of the other party to be able to pay it.

A skilled Atlanta alimony/spousal support attorney can help you navigate the process of getting a divorce when alimony/spousal support is an issue that must be addressed. A lawyer can also help if you wish to modify or terminate an existing alimony/spousal support order, or if your ex-spouse is petitioning for a modification/termination that you don’t believe should be granted.

With decades of experience assisting clients like yourself, Traci A. Weiss of Weiss Family Law in Atlanta has the expertise necessary to provide the guidance and representation you deserve. For more information about what our firm can do for you, contact us online or call us at 770-727-0533.

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