Understanding Spousal Support

Alimony is an important aspect of the divorce settlement, and it can ensure the wellbeing of a former spouse until they gain financial stability again. Both men and women are subject to alimony rulings, and it is important that you understand how spousal support operates. If you don’t already have one, you need to find a trustworthy spousal support attorney who can represent your best interests.

Three Types of Alimony

The courts may award three different types of alimony if spousal support is deemed appropriate. The first type of alimony is rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is paid to a former spouse for a short amount of time, with hopes of temporarily supporting them until they can find a stable living situation. Permanent alimony is not temporary and will be paid to the former spouse for an indefinite period of time. The courts may update their order to terminate the alimony at some point, but for the foreseeable future, alimony payments are required. The third and final spousal support option is called a lump sum alimony payment. This amount is fixed, cannot be changed, and is due all at once.

How Alimony is Initially Awarded

In the instance that the divorced couple cannot come to an agreement on spousal support, then the Superior Court will decide for them after considering these factors:

  • How much time the couple was married
  • How much potential income each spouse can make
  • How well the couple lived during the marriage
  • How long it might take for an unemployed spouse to earn a living
  • How much value was contributed to the marital estate by each spouse

For alimony to be awarded, the Superior Court will need to be convinced that a spouse needs financial assistance after the divorce. The court will also need to determine if the paying spouse can afford alimony and the actual amount of how much they can give. The former spouse may be awarded alimony payments if they:

  • Are not capable of supporting themselves financially
  • Have been without a job for most of the marriage
  • One spouse earns the primary source of income

Modifying Alimony

Individuals who are already paying alimony may find the need to modify the amount they pay. In Georgia, certain forms of spousal support can be modified after the settlement is complete, and all forms of spousal support will be modified if the receiving spouse gets remarried or dies. In some instances, if the receiving spouse cohabitates a dwelling with another person who shares living expenses, then the courts may decide that the need for alimony is reduced. If the paying spouse has a drop in income or loses their job, then the courts may modify the amount of alimony owed. Another way that alimony may be adjusted is if the receiving spouse begins to earn enough money to support themselves independently. It’s important to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who can assist you through the spousal support arrangements.

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