Alimony Laws in a Changing Georgia

Alimony is one of the most controversial areas of divorce under Georgia law. Some people are obligated to pay it and resent that fact. Others rely upon it for their survival.

In times past, when a couple decided to end their marriage, alimony was awarded very commonly, and almost always with a man paying his ex-wife. In those days, women had fewer employment options than they do today, and so courts presumed that women would be left at a severe financial disadvantage at the end of their marriage, while men could keep all the salary that they had previously shared with a spouse.

Today, women have more options in the workplace. Still, courts continue to order alimony when they deem it necessary to avoid injustice. Indeed, many men now collect alimony after a divorce.

Still, Georgia's alimony laws are somewhat old-fashioned in one respect. Georgia Code Section 19-6-1 provides that adultery is a bar to receiving alimony. In all cases of alimony requests, courts request evidence of a factual cause for the divorce, even in cases where both spouses want the divorce. This stands in contrast to the policy in most states, where no-fault divorce is increasingly the standard and courts don't want to hear about a couple's marital problems. At least when it comes to alimony requests, Georgia courts still officially want to know whether adultery played a part in the decision to divorce.

There's a common saying to the effect that, as emotional as the process of breaking up may be, a divorce is just about money. There's a lot of truth to that saying, but it's also true that in divorce, as in marriage, the two subjects tend to get tied in together. It's important for Georgia residents who are facing the end of a marriage to have the help of attorneys who can keep the focus on the material issues at hand even when emotions start to get in the way for the people involved.

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