Alimony/Spousal Support Lawyer in Atlanta

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Courts can order one spouse to make payments to the other temporarily while the divorce proceedings are in progress, or they may require payments to continue on long after the divorce is finalized.

Whether you are the one seeking alimony or you want to limit your liability for alimony payments, it is crucial to understand your rights and the factors that go into alimony decisions. When you work with an experienced alimony lawyer at Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, your legal advocate can ensure that the court is aware of all factors weighing in your favor so you can achieve your objectives.

Alimony is crucial for both the legal professionals and the families they represent. Based in Atlanta, GA, and serving the surrounding communities, the Law Office of Tessie D. Edwards & Associates is committed to providing our clients with up-to-date, comprehensive guidance on all matters related to family law, including the critical area of alimony. This article delves into the complexities of alimony law and highlights recent changes that could impact your case.

Understanding Alimony, The Foundations and Principles

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a financial obligation imposed by a court on one spouse to support the other during or after a divorce or legal separation. The primary aim of alimony is to mitigate the economic effects of a divorce by providing continuing income to the non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse.

The determination of alimony involves several factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the age, and physical and emotional condition of both spouses, and the financial resources and earning capacities of each spouse. However, the landscape of alimony law is continually shaped by legislative reforms and judicial interpretations, making it imperative for practitioners and parties involved in Atlanta and beyond to stay abreast of recent changes.

Recent Changes in Alimony Law

Recent legislative reforms and judicial rulings have significantly impacted alimony law, introducing changes that affect how alimony awards are determined, the duration of payments, and tax implications. One of the most notable changes in recent years is the amendment to the tax treatment of alimony payments under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which took effect in 2019.

Prior to this change, alimony payments were deductible by the payor and considered taxable income for the recipient. However, for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, alimony payments are no longer deductible by the payor, nor are they considered taxable income for the recipient. This shift has considerable implications for negotiation strategies and financial planning for divorcing couples in Atlanta and across the nation.

Moreover, many states, including Georgia, have revisited their alimony laws, introducing reforms aimed at modernizing alimony awards. These reforms often include provisions for the adjustment or termination of alimony upon the recipient’s cohabitation or remarriage, the establishment of guidelines for the determination of alimony to promote consistency and predictability, and the imposition of durational limits on alimony obligations, particularly for marriages of shorter duration.

 The Impact of Legislative Reforms on Alimony Cases

 The recent legislative reforms have ushered in a new era of alimony law, characterized by a greater emphasis on fairness, equity, and the economic realities of modern family dynamics. For legal practitioners and parties navigating the complexities of divorce and separation in Atlanta, understanding these changes is critical for achieving outcomes that align with the evolving legal standards and societal expectations.

At the Law Office of Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, we are at the forefront of interpreting and implementing these changes in our legal practice. Our team of experienced family law attorneys in Atlanta is dedicated to providing our clients with personalized, strategic advice tailored to the unique circumstances of each case. Whether you are seeking alimony, challenging an alimony request, or facing modifications to existing alimony orders, we are here to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. 

Practical Tips for Navigating Alimony Issues

  1. Stay Informed: Keeping abreast of recent changes in alimony law is essential. Our Atlanta-based team can help you understand how these changes may affect your case and strategize accordingly.

  1. Consider Mediation: Mediation can be a valuable tool for resolving alimony disputes amicably and efficiently. It allows both parties to have greater control over the outcome and can result in more mutually beneficial arrangements.

  1. Plan Financially: Whether you are potentially receiving or paying alimony, it’s crucial to plan financially for the impact of these payments on your budget and financial planning.

  1. Seek Expert Advice: Navigating the complexities of alimony requires expert legal guidance. Our Atlanta-based attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and experience to advocate for your best interests.

Alimony law is constantly changing, with recent reforms introducing significant modifications to how alimony is awarded and enforced. At the Law Office of Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, based in Atlanta, GA, we are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of representation, ensuring they are fully informed and adeptly navigated through these changes. Whether you’re embarking on the process of divorce, seeking modifications to existing alimony arrangements, or facing any other family law matter, our team is here to support you every step of the way.

Types Of Alimony In Georgia

Generally, issues involving temporary and permanent alimony are handled separately by the court. When deciding whether to award temporary alimony under Ga. Code §19-6-3, the court considers the condition of parties during the divorce process and the needs created by the divorce proceedings, including legal expenses. Your divorce lawyer could present evidence to show why the added expenses of your living situation during separation affect your need for or ability to pay alimony.

A judge has the task of determining if the spouse requesting alimony is financially dependent on the other spouse and if the paying spouse has the ability to pay the temporary support requested.  Temporary alimony payments are designed to continue until the final judgement is rendered in the case. However, an order of temporary alimony is subject to revision at any time.

It is important to remember that just because a judge orders temporary alimony during the divorce proceedings, that may have no bearing whatsoever on a decision about whether to order one spouse to pay alimony to the other after the divorce becomes final.

Permanent (long term) Alimony in Georgia

Courts may award permanent or long-term alimony payments in cases of separation or divorce. In most cases, what is referred to in the statutes as permanent alimony is only ordered for a limited period. For instance, if one spouse worked full-time while the other focused their time at home, the court might order alimony payments for a certain period to give the at-home spouse the opportunity to acquire additional education or training for employment.

However, if health issues or advanced age make it difficult for one spouse to support themselves, then the court could order alimony payments that continue on a permanent basis. An attorney experienced in alimony negotiations could help a couple reach an agreement on a plan that meets both their needs. In most cases, alimony obligations cease if the spouse receiving payments remarries.

Factors that Affect the Amount of Alimony

Ga Code §19-6-4 lists the factors the courts are expected to consider when deciding whether to award alimony and the amount and duration of alimony payments. These include:

  • The partners’ standard of living during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The physical and emotional condition of each partner, as well as their age
  • Each party’s financial resources
  • The time needed to acquire employment training
  • Contributions to the marriage, including homemaking, child rearing, and educational and career support to the other spouse
  • Each party’s earning capacity, separate property, and fixed obligations

In addition, the court can consider any other issues found to be relevant, equitable, and proper.

Work with an Experienced Alimony Lawyer in Atlanta to Protect Your Rights

Alimony payments can have a tremendous impact on your daily life. To give yourself the best opportunity to move forward during and after the divorce, it is important for alimony decisions to be based on a fair assessment of your situation.

When you work with a dedicated alimony attorney at Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, P.C., we will use every available strategy to achieve your goals and obtain a support plan to meet your needs. Call us for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we could assist in your case.