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How does spousal support work in Georgia?

| Nov 14, 2019 | Family Law |

Even when a couple is divorcing in Georgia, the higher-earning spouse is responsible for supporting the other spouse during the separation and negotiation period. If the pair cannot agree on a fair amount of spousal support among themselves, the court may order payments on a short-term or long-term basis.

Either spouse may request alimony during the divorce proceedings, but the court usually grants limited support except when one spouse left work to raise children or because of a disability and/or the marriage lasted many years.

Spousal support factors in Georgia

The judge will consider various facets of the marriage and the couple’s financial situation when deciding whether to award spousal support. These factors include both financial and nonfinancial contributions to the marriage and household, whether each spouse has a job or the potential for employment, each partner’s age and health status, the value of separate and marital assets and debts, the couple’s standard of living during the marriage and the length of the union.

A spouse who abandoned or committed adultery against the other spouse is not eligible for alimony. However, these actions do not affect property division, child custody or child support.

Temporary vs. permanent alimony

Georgia typically orders temporary alimony, sometimes called rehabilitative alimony, when one spouse needs career training or education to become financially self-sufficient. The amount of time this process will take determines the length of the short-term spousal support award.

When one spouse cannot work because of disability or age and/or the couple had a decades-long marriage, the court may award permanent spousal support. This monthly payment lasts until the spouse receiving alimony passes on or remarries. In some cases, permanent spousal support may consist of a lump sum amount. Even permanent alimony arrangements are not necessarily permanent, though. Either person can request a change after two years.

When both parties work, the court may not order spousal support. However, if your spouse financially supports you or vice versa, alimony may be a factor in your Georgia divorce.