The alimony laws governing spousal support in Georgia is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the GA alimony law.
Until 1980, Georgia law had no alimony provisions which stated that the court may award alimony to either spouse “only if it decides that alimony is required.” Married people in Georgia are fiscally liable for one another, with the husband having a responsibility to support his wife and the wife has a responsibility to support her husband.
All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.
What is Alimony?
Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in the Empire State of the South, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.
Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.
This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.
Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in GA
Judges in Georgia have the authority to order either temporary or permanent alimony. (Ga. Code Ann. § 19-6-4 (2018).)
Temporary Spousal Support in Georgia
When one spouse requires financial assistance while the divorce is proceeding in court, temporary alimony is suitable. Depending on local norms and the specifics of each case, the judicial process for divorce can take anything from a few months to over a year. Couples must shift from a two-income home to a one-income household during this time.
A temporary support order does not imply that alimony will be paid after the divorce. If permanent alimony is reasonable, the judge will issue a fresh order that will remain in effect after the divorce is finalized.
Permanent Spousal Support in Georgia
Even though the court grants permanent alimony, it is rare for an indefinite amount of time. The most prevalent alimony awards following a divorce are for spouses who require interim financial assistance to obtain professional schooling that will enable them to find work and become self-supporting.
Due to old age or disability, Georgia courts reserve really permanent (long-term) alimony for partners who are not able to find work and help themselves.
Who Pays Alimony in Georgia?
In Georgia alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.
Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Empire State of the South is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.
So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Georgia if the above conditions are met.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in GA?
The duration to pay alimony in Georgia can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.
As provided by the alimony laws of GA, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.
How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Georgia
When it comes to collecting spousal support in Georgia, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.
Factors That Influence Alimony in Georgia
The average amount payable as spousal support in Georgia after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”
To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in GA, the courts in GA take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:
- earning capacity of each spouse.
- the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
- the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
- how long the marriage lasted
- the needs of each spouse
- the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
- each party’s tax consequences
- the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
- each spouse’s health and age
- each party’s balance of hardships
- whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
- will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
- any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
- any other factors which the court wishes to consider
This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in the Empire State of the South. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.
Marital Misconduct and Alimony in Georgia
Georgia courts likewise look into whether one partner’s marital wrongdoing contributed to the marriage’s collapse.
For a spouse who otherwise qualifies but abandoned the other spouse or committed infidelity during the marriage, a judge may decrease or even deny alimony. (Ga. Code Ann. § 19-6-1 (b) (2018).)
The victim of marital misconduct may be awarded lifelong alimony by the court. (Ga. Conn Ann. § 19-6-4 (2018).)
How Alimony is Calculated in GA
In the Georgia Code § 19-6-1 et seq, there is no set formula for calculating alimony. If there is no evidence of adultery or desertion, and there is a need and ability to pay, the judge will consider all of the factors in determining
(1) whether alimony is appropriate, and
(2) the form, duration, and amount of the final award.
The amount to be paid as spousal support in Georgia is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator
Importance of Using a Skilled Georgia Spousal Support Attorney
If you’re getting a divorce in Georgia and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support, your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. GA courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.
If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Georgia, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are
both empathetic and strong.
For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of GA divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and
representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.
FAQ About Georgia Alimony Laws
Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in GA:
Can a Husband get Alimony in GA?
Yes. In Georgia, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.
Who Qualifies for Alimony in Georgia?
Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in GA, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details
How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in GA?
To understand how long alimony lasts in Georgia, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.
However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.
Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Georgia?
Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Georgia and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.
Is Alimony Mandatory in Empire State of the South?
Alimony is mandatory in Georgia as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.
Can Alimony be increased in Georgia?
Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:
- an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
- if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
- loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
- an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
- when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected
Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in GA?
Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Georgia. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.
If it’s a Georgia court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in GA}.
How to Modify Spousal Support in Georgia
When necessary, Georgia law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in GA usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.
When filing for a spousal support modification in Georgia, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in GA.
The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Georgia:
- Cohabitating in a marriage-like relationship (Ga. Code Ann. § 19-6-19 (2018).)
- Changes in income or employment
- Birth of a new child
- Health changes, including disability
- A new dependent
How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in GA
In the Empire State of the South, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:
- that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
- the spouse proves that he has no source of income
- the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
- if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living
- If the supported spouse remarries, the permanent alimony is automatically terminated. (Ga. Code Ann. § 19-6-5 (b) (2018).)
- Georgia Child Adoption Guidelines
- Georgia Childcare Guidelines
- Georgia Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Georgia Child Support Guidelines
- Georgia Divorce Guidelines
- Georgia Marital Property Guidelines
- Georgia Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Georgia Child Support Payment History
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