Coleman Legal Group, LLC
Call 770-609-1247 to speak with a Georgia divorce and family law attorney experienced in alimony and spousal support.
Alimony Defined: Under Georgia statutory law, alimony is defined as “an allowance out of one party’s estate, made for the support of the other party when living separate.” It can be either temporary or permanent. Alimony is also referred to a spousal support and is typically a monthly payment or installment from one spouse to another following the divorce. Alimony is intended to provide the recipient spouse with extended care and is dependent upon standards of living, earning capabilities, and each person’s contributions within the marriage. Spousal Support is not ordered in every case and is also dependent upon the length of the marriage and is not usually ordered in instances of short term marriage.
After the complaint for divorce is filed, temporary alimony can be awarded to either party and is intended both for support and to enable the recipient to contest issues while the proceeding is pending. Thus, the support may be awarded for the purposes of covering attorney’s fees, expenses of litigation and child support.
You can only receive alimony if you and your partner were in a valid, existing marriage prior to filing for divorce or separation. The length of the marriage and other factors are usually taken into account when alimony is being awarded, as are the reasons for the divorce. Alimony is not awarded to parties whose actions resulted in the divorce; this stipulation is most commonly tied to adultery or desertion. Entitlement to temporary alimony and the amount that will be awarded are at the discretion of the trial judge and the court may “inquire into the cause and circumstances of the separation,” in order to reach a decision.
O.C.G.A. § 19-6-3 requires that the judge consider the particular necessities created for each party by the pending litigation and any evidence of a separate estate owned by each party. The separate estates, income, property, and earning ability are relevant since the financial condition of both parties is relevant and important to the decision to award temporary alimony. Also considered relevant to the case is the standard of living of the parties prior to separation, the recipient’s age, physical condition, and financial contributions to the marriage.
The order of the court regarding temporary alimony may be modified at any time before the final judgment. However, motions to appeal the decision are not usually accepted unless it is established that a gross abuse of discretion has occurred.
Upon the final disposition of the case, permanent alimony may be awarded. “Permanent Alimony” does not mean for the life of either of the parties. Rather Permanent Alimony refers to any award of alimony that is made as a part of the final decree of divorce. Permanent Alimony can be as short as one lump sum payment in any amount or a stream of payments lasting several years.
A valid, existing marriage between the parties is a prerequisite for alimony and the parties must be separated. The court may place into consideration the cause of the separation and the conduct of both parties in determining whether to award an allowance and, if so, in what amount it shall be awarded. Adultery or desertion on part of the party seeking the support that causes the separation or prevents reconciliation bars the award.
The decision will be based on considerations of both whether the party seeking the award is needful of it and whether the adversary is able to pay. Thus alimony can be authorized, or it can be determined that the recipient is not needful or that the payor is unable to pay.
The following shall be considered in determining the amount of alimony, if any, which is to be paid:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and physical and emotional condition of both parties
- The financial resources of each party
- Where applicable, the amount of time necessary for either party to acquire education or training that would enable him or her to find appropriate employment
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including but not limited to services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party
- The condition of the parties including the separate estate, earning capabilities, and fixed liabilities of each party
- Other relevant factors the court may deem equitable and proper to the case.
Alimony may be ordered to be paid periodically, in a lump sum, or a combination of both. It may be paid in cash or in a tangible or intangible form of equal worth, such as property. The right to claim alimony in whichever form it is being paid is terminated should the payee remarry, unless otherwise is explicitly stated in the decree.
The obligation to pay alimony based on the payor’s salary does not terminate upon retirement, as alimony payments are based solely on contributions to the payor’s retirement plan. However, the death of a payor extinguishes the potential recipient’s right to claim periodic alimony. The right to claim lump sum alimony survives as a potential lien upon the estate of the decedent. Under 11 U.S.C.A. § 523(a)(5), awards of alimony are not dischargeable under bankruptcy actions (although property divisions are dischargeable).
Alimony and Attorney’s Fees
The trial court may award attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation to either party at both the temporary and final hearings. The purpose of awarding attorney’s fees is to enable a spouse to contest the issues. Attorney’s fees are treated as temporary alimony in Georgia.
Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Estates, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Bankruptcy, Business Law and Immigration. We have offices conveniently located at:
North Point Park
5755 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Phone: 770-408-0477 | Map
|Dunwoody, Sandy Springs
GA 400, Atlanta Georgia
1200 Abernathy Rd
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-408-0477 | Map
|Johns Creek, Duluth GA
11555 Medlock Bridge Road
Johns Creek, GA 30097
Phone: 770-408-0477 | Map
125 TownPark Drive
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone: 770-609-1247 | Map
Georgia Areas We Serve
Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s divorce and family law attorneys handle cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Marietta, Sandy Springs, Canton, Woodstock, Douglasville, Kennesaw, Gainseville, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Midtown, Inman Park, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings, Smyrna, Covington, Conyers, Newborn, Mansfield, Oxford, Social Circle, Porterdale, Buford, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, Dacula, Ball Ground and Starrsville.
Our divorce and family law attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette, Newton, Walton, Rockdale and Clayton.
Copyright © 2017 | Coleman Legal Group, LLC | All Rights Reserved. Coleman Legal Group, LLC • 5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52 • Alpharetta, GA 30022 • 770-609-1247 DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.