Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is one of the most contested parts of the divorce negotiation. However, it does not always apply to every divorce. The following summarization of Georgia's alimony laws provides some basic information about the alimony process in Georgia. If you would like to speak with an experienced family law attorney regarding a potential alimony award, please contact the Wise Law Firm for a free telephone consultation.
Alimony is financial support paid by an ex-spouse to the other during and/or after a divorce. Alimony is a need based and ability to pay award. There must be a need by one spouse and the paying spouse must have the ability to pay spousal support on a temporary and/or permanent basis. Temporary alimony is sometimes granted during the divorce process to financially assist one spouse until the final divorce decree is issued. In the final divorce decree, a Court order for alimony may or may not be included even if temporary alimony was ordered. The purpose of alimony is to provide reasonable and necessary support for the non-wage earning or lower-wage earning spouse. Alimony is usually paid in monthly installments from one spouse to the other.
Georgia law states that to be eligible for alimony the parties must have been legally married. An award of alimony is determined on a case by case basis, and is either agreed to by the parties, or ordered by the Court. When the Court is asked to determine whether to grant alimony, the Court may consider evidence pertaining to the conduct of the spouses during the marriage.
Alimony is further defined by four types: lump-sum, rehabilitative, temporary and permanent. Lump sum alimony is usually made in one lump payment. Temporary alimony (also called "pendent lite alimony") can be granted to help with the transition period until the divorce is final. The most common type of alimony is known as rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony lasts for a specific period of time and the Court may consider the amount of time it will take for the receiving spouse to be self-supporting. Finally, the least common type of alimony is permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is paid indefinitely until the Court decides to modify or discontinue alimony, or either spouse dies. For a more in-depth explanation of Georgia's alimony laws, please see Georgia's code section O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1.