The divorce process can be very overwhelming. In addition to emotionally coming to grips with the end of your marriage, you may have to find a new place to live, decide on issues involving child custody and child support, and divide up property with your ex-spouse. One of the most stressful aspects of a divorce can be determining if you must pay your ex-spouse alimony, and if so, how much and how long you must pay them.
How Is Alimony Determined in Georgia?
In Georgia, alimony is more likely to be awarded if a couple is divorcing after being married for 10 years or more. In addition, the spouse who receives the alimony must have minimal earning potential in relation to his or her need. For example, a stay-at-home parent might be considered to have minimal earning potential. In Georgia, while the court does calculate and award alimony, there is no specific formula for calculating alimony. Generally, the needs of the spouse receiving alimony and the ability to pay of the spouse paying alimony are the main factors used to determine alimony in Georgia.
However, those aren’t the only factors that alimony is based on. The complete list of factors used to determine spousal support in Georgia includes the following:
- Length of the marriage
- Standard of living during the marriage
- The financial resources available to each spouse
- The emotional and physical condition of each spouse
- The ages of the spouses
- What each spouse contributed to the marriage, such as helping the other spouse build their career or business, financially supporting the family, childcare, homemaking, and helping the other spouse pursue an education
- Each spouse’s earning capacity, separate estates, and fixed liabilities
- How much time each spouse would need to get the education and/or training he or she would need to find gainful employment
Do I Have Any Control Over What My Ex Spends Their Alimony On?
Unless your ex-spouse has issues that lead to a court deeming them unfit to have control over their finances, you may not have much, if any, say over how they spend their alimony. However, you may be able to modify how much alimony you pay your ex-spouse under certain circumstances.
Can I Get My Alimony Payments Modified?
There are situations where you may be able to get the court to change your alimony payments. It depends on the language in the divorce decree.
If the alimony is not contingent upon any fact, and the total alimony can be calculated at the time the order is entered, then that alimony is non-modifiable. For example, if the divorce decree orders simple monthly payments for a fixed number of months without conditions, it may not possible to ever modify that payment. Also, if the parties agreed to waive their right to seek a modification of alimony then that agreement is binding and modification is impossible.
On the other hand, the alimony may be modifiable if the divorce decree is worded in a way that alimony is contingent upon some other fact. For example, if alimony terminates upon remarriage of the spouse who receives alimony then we may be able to modify the alimony payment
If the alimony is modifiable. Reasons why a court might modify an alimony arrangement can include:
- The spouse that pays alimony loses his or her job
- The spouse that receives alimony gets remarried
- The spouse that receives alimony begins living with a long-term romantic partner
- The spouse that receives alimony gets a job
- The income of the spouse that pays alimony increases or decreases
- The spouse that pays alimony retires
- The divorce agreement includes a clause allowing alimony payments to be modified based on annual cost of living increases
At Daniels & Taylor, P.C., we have spent the better part of three decades guiding couples through the legal minefield that is the divorce process. We can help you understand and avoid the legal pitfalls of divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, and a wide range of other family law matters. Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what our clients have to say about our service.
To learn more about how our experienced family law attorneys can help you through every step of the divorce process, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (770) 285-1673 today.