Spousal Support (Alimony)
Learn About Spousal Support Laws In Georgia, including Eligibility, Duration and Enforcement.
Spousal Support, also known as Alimony, is a court ordered monetary payment one spouse is required to make to the other. Spousal support is not a required or mandatory part of a divorce settlement. To qualify for spousal support the marriage usually needs to be considered a long-term marriage and one in which one spouse has low to no income earning potential. Any person found to have committed adultery or abandonment is automatically barred from receiving spousal support.
Eligibility Factors For Spousal Support
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Duration of the marriage
- Receiving spouse’s age, earning potential, physical condition
- Paying spouse’s earning capacity, financial situation, debts
- Contributions to the marriage of value but not income producing
Calculating Spousal Support Amounts
Alimony payments are calculated and set by the Court; however, there is no defined formula for calculating alimony in Georgia. The financial support calculation process is totally arbitrary and quite subjective. Generally speaking, alimony is determined based on “the needs of one person” and “the ability of the other person to pay.”
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary support is sometimes mandated during a divorce process to provide financial stability to a spouse without a substantial source of income. Temporary support payments may be required to be paid on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis until the divorce is made final.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent support is usually not life-long and is almost always paid for only a limited time period. The basic concept is to provide financial stability for a period of time that allows a spouse to establish a practical income.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last
The length of time support payments are required varies. Despite the initial time period set by the Court, support payments can be terminated with a successful divorce modification process. The paying spouse will be required to prove the receiving spouse has established a solid financial foundation for living. This could be getting a good paying job, receiving an inheritance, getting remarried, winning a lottery or other ways that their financial position has substantially improved. Inversely, the person paying support may be able to reduce the payment amount by showing severe financial hardship.
Contempt For Non-Payment Of Support
Sometimes, support payments are made late. Although late payments are frowned upon by the Court, it is usually not a problem as long as payments are current. However, if payment issues indicate defiance or deliberate avoidance of payment, the Court may charge the paying party with Contempt. A Contempt of Court charge can result in a garnishment of wages or even jail time.
Are you in a support payment dispute? Our law firm can represent someone needing enforcement or someone needing to fight an enforcement action. If you are caught in a matter of Contempt, you should call a criminal defense lawyer to discuss what can be done for you.