Alimony in Georgia
Alimony in Georgia is something that a spouse may seek in a divorce, and alimony in Georgia is determined by the court after considering many relevant factors. Alimony is not guaranteed to be awarded, and the court will consider many factors in determining alimony issues.
What is alimony in Georgia?Alimony in Georgia is defined as “an allowance out of one party’s estate, made for the support of the other party when living separately. It is either temporary or permanent.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1(a). In other words, alimony in Georgia is financial support from one spouse to the other spouse during and after divorce.
Who gets alimony in a divorce in Ga? How does alimony work?Under Georgia alimony laws, a spouse in a divorce action or in cases of voluntary separation or where one spouse, against the will of that spouse, is abandoned or driven off by the other spouse, may seek an award of alimony. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-4.
Alimony in Georgia may be either temporary or permanent. In determining whether to grant alimony or not, the trial court may consider the following factors:
Factual cause of the separation and the conduct of each spouse to the other;
Needs of the spouse requesting the alimony; and
Ability of the other spouse to pay the requested alimony.
The court may look at all of a spouse’s assets when considering that spouse’s ability to pay alimony. For example, consideration of a spouse’s military retirement pay may be relevant to an award of alimony. Stumpf v. Stumpf, 249 Ga. 759 (1982).
Where the issue of alimony is pending with the court, neither spouse is allowed to make any substantial changes in the assets except in the course of ordinary business affairs and except for bona fide transfers for value. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1.
How long do you have to be married to get alimony in Georgia?Being married for a certain period of time is neither required nor sufficient for an award of alimony in Georgia. In other words, a spouse who has been married for over 30 years could be denied alimony. However, duration of the marriage is a factor the court may consider when the amount of alimony is determined.
What is average amount of alimony Georgia? What is alimony based on?There is no such thing as an alimony calculator in Georgia or typical alimony payments. It is very difficult to estimate the amount of alimony that will be awarded, if any. Nonetheless, the following are the factors the court will consider when the amount of alimony, if any, is determined:
The standard of living established during the marriage;
The duration of the marriage;
The age and the physical and emotional condition of both spouses;
The financial resources of each spouse;
Where applicable, the time necessary for either spouse to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him or her to find appropriate employment;
The contribution of each spouse to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other spouse;
The condition of the spouses, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the spouses; and
Such other relevant factors as the court deems equitable and proper.
Further, depending on the type of alimony and other circumstances, alimony may be modified by the court.
How long does alimony in Georgia lastAs described more in next paragraphs, there are different types of alimony in Georgia. To figure out how long alimony may last, you need to first look at the language in the final judgment and decree of divorce.
What is periodic alimony?Under Georgia alimony laws, periodic alimony refers to an indefinite number of payments, making the actual amount to be paid also indefinite. White v. Howard, 295 Ga. 210 (2014).
For example, where the final divorce decree “required Husband to obtain a term life insurance policy in the amount of $100,000.00, naming Wife as the beneficiary, and to keep the policy in effect for 12 years,” this requirement has been held to be periodic alimony. White v. Howard, 295 Ga. 210 (2014). This is because the cost to the husband and the value to the wife of this requirement were indefinite when the decree was entered, as the amount of that award depends on how long the husband will live.
What is lump sum alimony?Under Georgia alimony laws, lump sum alimony or alimony in gross refers to an exact number and amount of payments without other limitations, conditions, or statements of intent so that the amount of award is not contingent on future events but rather is ascertainable at the time of the court’s order. White v. Howard, 295 Ga. 210 (2014).
For example, “the sum of 500.00 per month as alimony… for a total of 60 months and a total payment of 30,000.00” has been held to be lump sum alimony. Rivera v. Rivera, 283 Ga. 547 (2008).
Does adultery affect alimony in Georgia?Yes, a spouse’s adultery affects alimony in Georgia. In fact, a spouse is not entitled to alimony if that spouse’s adultery caused the separation between the spouses. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1.
If a spouse’s desertion is the cause of the separation, this may be a bar to alimony as well. Further, the court will look at the cause of the separation, regardless of the grounds upon which a divorce is sought, when alimony is determined.