Alimony is financial support made to a spouse during and after a divorce. This is separate from any payments made for child support due to the child custody situation. Under state law, spouses have a duty to financially support each other, and alimony acknowledges that this duty can continue even after a divorce or legal separation.
How Do You Qualify for Alimony?
Alimony is awarded on a case-by-case basis in Georgia, and there is not a set formula used to calculate awards. Instead, the courts evaluate a series of factors:
- The reason for your separation (including adultery and misconduct),
- Each spouse’s earning capacity, financial resources, and debt,
- Your contribution to the marriage (including home-keeping and child care duties),
- Your standard of living during the marriage,
- The length of the marriage,
- Each spouse’s age and health,
- The time requirements required for job retraining and education, and
- Any other relevant factors.
Generally speaking, you must prove that you financially require alimony—and that the other party is capable of providing financial support.
How Much Alimony Can You Receive in Georgia?
Georgia does not have a limit or cap on alimony. Instead, the courts must weigh the factors discussed above and determine how much support is appropriate. Under certain circumstances, alimony awards can be millions of dollars (but are typically more modest).
How Long Does Alimony Last in Georgia?
Georgia awards alimony on both a temporary and permanent basis—including while a divorce is pending (sometimes called “support pendente lite”). Historically, However, courts typically view alimony as a rehabilitative measure, and many alimony awards are now temporary (giving a spouse time to obtain job training and employment). Permanent alimony is increasingly rare.
How Do You Petition for Alimony?
Again, alimony can be awarded even before a divorce is finalized. To request alimony, you should file a motion with the court. If you plan on requesting alimony, seriously consider hiring a lawyer before you file for divorce. Georgia does not have a standardized form for initial alimony requests, so each petition must be drafted from scratch. It also can be difficult for the average person to calculate and negotiate alimony awards.
Additionally, an increasing number of couples are negotiating alimony in their settlement agreement. If you and your spouse can agree to a fair alimony amount, you can resolve this issue without the court’s involvement. Again, a lawyer can help you with these negotiations.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
Petitioning or modifying an alimony award can be contentious and complicated. A Georgia family lawyer can help you file a motion with the court, calculate a fair alimony award, and negotiate with your spouse.