Alimony in Georgia: Divorce Lawyer Discusses Obtaining Alimony

September 21, 2012
Alimony is money given by one party for the support of the other party. Today, although alimony is not routinely awarded, both husbands and wives may seek an alimony award.

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1. Definition of Alimony and How to Establish a Cause of Action for Alimony.

Historically, alimony was awarded to the wife due to the fact that, until relatively recently, it was unusual for the wife to work outside the home. The wife typically had no income or income-earning ability with which to support herself. As women working outside the home has become more common, the frequency with which alimony is awarded has decreased dramatically.

In order to establish a cause of action for alimony, the spouse seeking alimony must prove three elements:

  1. There was a valid marriage between the parties;
  2. The parties are separated; and
  3. The alimony claim is part of a divorce action.

Establishing a cause of action for alimony does not guarantee an award of alimony. The court will consider many factors in determining whether to award alimony, in particular the asking spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

2. Determining the Amount of Alimony.

The court has a great deal of discretion in determining the amount of alimony. This is because the circumstances in each case are different, making it impossible to have a single formula that would permit justice in every situation. There are several factors that courts traditionally consider, including:

-The duration of the marriage;

-The standard of living established during marriage;

-The financial resources of each party;

-The contribution of each party to the marriage, including homemaking, child rearing, and contributions to the education and career of the other party;

-Earning capacity and liabilities of each party; and

-Any other factors the court deems equitable and proper.

It is important to note that a spouse may likely not be entitled to alimony if it is established that the separation was caused by that spouse’s adultery.

3. Distribution and Duration of Alimony.

Alimony may be paid as a lump sum or through periodic payments, depending on the court’s order. The obligation to pay periodic payments will terminate if either spouse dies or if the spouse receiving alimony remarries, unless the court provides otherwise. Alimony can create tax implications, so hiring an accountant is a good idea in order to avoid potential tax filing missteps.

The laws governing alimony awards are oftentimes complicated and confusing. The Divorce Attorneys at Breakfield & Associates are committed to providing our clients in the Hall County, Georgia area with confidential and qualified legal representation.

If you have any questions regarding alimony, or any other question related to seeking a divorce, please Call or Email the Divorce Lawyers at Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys today for a free and confidential initial consultation.

About the authors: David Purvis and John Breakfield are attorneys with Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys in Gainesville, Georgia and handle Divorce and Family Law matters. The law office of Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys can assist clients through out Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch), Forsyth County (Cumming), White County (Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Gwinnett County (Buford, Sugar Hill, Lawrenceville), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.

This article and video should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes. Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.

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