After a marriage ends, it may be necessary for one spouse to continue to support the other for some time. This is known as spousal support or alimony. In Georgia, spousal support is not guaranteed after a divorce and is not applicable in all marriages. Instead, certain factors must exist for a former spouse to demonstrate a need for spousal support and the court will only award spousal support if the spouse shows that it is necessary and the other party has the ability to pay.
This process may appear to be unfair. Perhaps one spouse feels they should not have to support their former spouse anymore, as they are no longer married. Or maybe a former spouse has given up some aspect of their life, perhaps a job, to contribute to the marriage and feels they are owed some support for their sacrifice.
These differing perspectives often lead to conflict. Fighting over spousal support can be a very ugly aspect in a divorce, but a spousal support lawyer in the Gwinnett County area can assist you in making a fair determination of appropriate support.
While each state has its own spousal support guidelines, under Georgia Code Section 19-6-1, the state recognizes two types of spousal support. The first and more common form is temporary alimony.
Temporary alimony is typically awarded to allow one spouse to get back to the place they were before the marriage or to be able to support themselves. This is designed to be a short-term solution and allows the spouse to go back to school or take on skills that will allow them to compete in the job market and secure employment. This type of spousal support is usually awarded when one of the spouses has given up employment to stay home and care for children or engage in other domestic duties. Additionally, this support may be paid out during divorce proceedings and before the final divorce decree.
The other type of spousal support is permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is not necessarily permanent but is intended to last longer than rehabilitative alimony. When one spouse is unable to work, due to disability or illness, they may receive permanent alimony. These support payments may be ended by the death of either spouse or if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabits long-term with a romantic partner.
Although there are general guidelines when determining spousal support, each case is different. Pursuant to Section 19-6-5, courts will look at a variety of factors, including, but not limited to:
These factors will help the court to determine what type of support is owed and how long the support should be paid. An experienced spousal support lawyer can explain other factors that may impact spousal support in a specific situation.
Understandably, spousal support can be an uncomfortable subject after the end of a marriage. If you have questions regarding spousal support, including modifying current spousal support orders, reach out to a Gwinnett County spousal support lawyer today.
Consulting with a lawyer can assist you in making a fair determination of what you are legally entitled to. They can help you understand the different factors that may affect an award and create a thorough plan to help create a mutually beneficial agreement.
Atlanta Divorce Law Group