In many marriages, one spouse focuses more on a career while the other puts less emphasis on developing a vocation and more on building a secure life in the home. After several years, the partner who focuses on their career will generally be able to earn much more than the partner who sets aside work potential to spend more time at home.
Alimony laws in Georgia do not try to create an equal playing field when spouses divorce. However, a spouse earning more may be required to pay support to the other either temporarily or for a significant period of time.
Temporary Alimony in Georgia
Courts may order one spouse to pay temporary alimony during the divorce proceedings to help the other spouse manage expenses during the legal process. The court will look at evidence of the parties’ needs and assets including the legal expenses associated with the divorce itself. If the party asking for temporary alimony has “ample” assets of their own, then the court might refuse to order temporary alimony.
The court might also refuse temporary alimony if the cause or circumstances of the couple’s separation give the judge reason to deny alimony. For instance, if one spouse runs off to Vegas with a new love and then asks for support money to cover gambling losses, the court might deny it even if that spouse is in financial need.
The court’s decision to award or deny temporary alimony during divorce proceedings is separate from the decision about whether alimony is justified after the divorce is finalized.
Permanent Alimony is Not Usually Permanent
When Georgia laws refer to “permanent” alimony, the term is used to contrast with temporary alimony paid during divorce proceedings. The word is not used to indicate that alimony will continue throughout a spouse’s life.
The length of time one spouse is obligated to pay permanent alimony will be set by the judge after considering a variety of evidence. If one spouse has mental or physical disabilities that render them unable to work, permanent alimony may be granted indefinitely and thus essentially be permanent. However, in most cases, judges award alimony for the time necessary to allow spouses with less work experience time to obtain additional education or training so they are better prepared to support themselves. If a spouse who receives alimony remarries, the obligation ceases.
Factors That Affect an Award of Alimony in Georgia
Before awarding permanent alimony, the court is supposed to consider:
- The duration of the marriage
- The couple’s standard of living
- Age and condition (physical and emotional) of each party
- Financial resources available to each party
- The need for education or training to find “appropriate” employment
- Each party’s contribution to the home and marriage
- Each party’s earning capacity and liabilities
The court may consider other factors, so it is important if you are seeking alimony to be sure that your attorney is aware of any facts that could impact your need for support.
A Skilled Georgia Divorce Lawyer Helps You Reach Your Goals for Alimony
You may have a great need for alimony or you may be in a position to show why your ex has no need of alimony from you. However, if you fail to present evidence to show why you should receive alimony or should not be required to pay it, then the judge is likely to rule against you.
It is essential to ensure that your divorce attorney has all the facts to support your case and that your legal advocate has the experience to make the right arguments on your behalf. To find out how the dedicated team at Tessie D. Edwards & Associates could help you achieve your objectives for alimony payments, contact us today for a confidential consultation.