If you are in the middle of a divorce, you may be worried about how you are going to be able to support yourself without the help of your spouse. If that is the case, you may need to consider including spousal support (alimony) in your divorce agreement.

If a divorce is in your future and you are concerned about this issue, you may benefit from a consultation with a spousal support lawyer in Alpharetta. They can help you determine what support or alimony you may be eligible for so that you can leave your marriage with some security.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, also legally referred to as alimony, is a financial payment made by one former spouse to the other. These monetary remittances provide safeguards that ensure one spouse does not suffer undue financial hardships resulting from the separation. Alimony is not always mandated and is often awarded on a financial need basis.

In accordance with Georgia §19-6-5 Domestic Codes governing spousal support, a court may weigh several financial and personal factors when deciding how much alimony a receiving ex-spouse should receive. These issues can include:

  • The marriage’s duration
  • A disparity in income between spouses
  • The individual assets each spouse possesses
  • The standard of living the couple enjoyed during their married life
  • The age and health of both spouses

A court may also consider the contributions the receiving spouse made towards helping the remitting spouse receive the education needed to build a professional career or if the receiving spouse gave up employment or educational opportunities to tend to domestic chores such as child-raising.

One couple’s divorce may be significantly different from another’s. Therefore, other issues could sway a court’s decision. An Alpharetta alimony lawyer could identify what factors may weigh into a court’s decision.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

In certain instances, alimony payments may be temporary. Following a couple’s divorce, a court may order the remitting spouse pay the award until the receiving spouse receives the education and skills necessary to seek and secure financially-sustaining employment.

Moreover, spousal support orders can be modified or terminated. However, either the remitter or receiver may have to clearly demonstrate to the court that a significant financial or professional change occurred to warrant the requested alteration. Acceptable reasons for modification or termination requests include remarriage of the receiving spouse, job loss or gain by either former spouse, or a financial windfall such as inheritance.

Modifying Spousal Maintenance

A spouse who does not provide proper support payments may face civil or even criminal sanctions. However, the courts recognize that a person’s circumstances can change significantly over time. What was a fair spousal maintenance order at the time of a divorce may not be fair later.

Fortunately, the law allows either party to a spousal support order to request a modification two years after a previous final order, if a material change in circumstances has occurred. For example, either party losing or gaining income, or a receiving party completing a college degree or job training may render an alimony order obsolete.

As long as the petitioning party can demonstrate a significant change in either party’s circumstances, a court may grant their request for modification of an existing spousal support order.

Deciding Issues Out of Court

Sometimes, divorcing spouses may be able to resolve alimony questions without court intervention. However, in most cases, individuals will need to have drafted and signed either a prenuptial, postnuptial, or a marital separation agreement.

Prenuptial agreements, which are sometimes legally referred to as prenuptial contracts or prenuptial arrangements are agreed upon prior to a couple marrying and may contain provisions regarding alimony. Postnuptial contracts may contain similar spousal support provisions but are agreed to after a couple is married. Marital separation arrangements are similar in nature to pre and postnuptial agreements, however, such contracts are typically signed by spouses planning to divorce.

Speak with an Alpharetta Spousal Support Attorney Today

Spousal support can be a confusing aspect of divorce proceedings. Given how many factors can determine spousal support, it is important to make sure you are thorough when creating an agreement.

A spousal support lawyer can review your case to help you receive the support you need and deserve. They can then negotiate on your behalf to help reach a positive arrangement.

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