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Alimony in a Georgia Divorce

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In Georgia, a judge may order one spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse on a temporary or permanent basis. The court has great discretion and uses a range of factors in deciding how much alimony to award. A Georgia family lawyer can review your situation and advise you about your alimony rights.

Under what circumstances can a Georgia court award alimony?

Alimony is generally paid periodically and can be awarded in case of divorce, voluntary separation, agreement between the parties or desertion of one of the spouses by the other. A Georgia judge may order one of the spouses to pay alimony on a temporary or permanent basis.

The court examines the needs of the parties and their respective ability to pay spousal support. If one party proves by clear and convincing evidence that adultery or desertion of the other party caused the divorce, that party is not required to pay alimony.

Elements considered in the determination of Georgia alimony awards

A judge has great discretion and considers several factors in determining the amount of alimony payments such as:

  • The standard of living of the couple during their marriage and the duration of the marriage
  • The age, physical and emotional conditions of both parties
  • The contributions both spouses made to the marriage (which may include home-making and care of children)
  • The financial position of both parties and their future earning capacity as well as their costs
  • Anything else the court finds relevant in its determination

Termination and modification of Georgia alimony awards

In most cases, a party is required to pay alimony until a date or event specified in the award, which is often the death of either party or the remarriage of the receiving spouse. A court may also order the termination or modification of alimony payments if the receiving spouse lives with another partner but are not officially married.

Under Georgia law, a court may modify its order in case of a substantial change in financial status of one or both of the former spouses, unless one or both of the former spouses specifically waived their right to modify the award.

An Athens, GA family lawyer can assist you with your spousal support case, whether you are going through a divorce or would like to modify an existing Georgia alimony award.

Michael S. Brown and Kim T. Stephens have almost four decades of combined experience in Georgia family law and draw upon this experience to make sure you reach the best possible solution in your alimony case.

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Acceptable Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

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The state of Georgia recognizes no-fault and fault-based divorce processes for a couple wishing to end their marriage. In fault cases, your divorce will be blamed solely on the actions of either you or your spouse. This can influence a judge’s decision about spousal support, child support and custody plans.

In Georgia, the 12 recognized grounds for divorce based on fault are:

  • Intermarriage: The spouses are directly related to each other.
  • Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage: One spouse was unfit to consent properly to a marriage, most commonly because of drug or alcohol usage before the ceremony.
  • Impotency at the time of marriage: A divorce can be granted if a spouse was sexually impotent at the time of the marriage, and the other spouse did not know.
  • Force, menace, duress or fraud in obtaining the marriage: Marriages that take place under threats of violence or fraud are subject to dissolution by a judge.
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband at the time of the marriage: The pregnancy is a proper ground for divorce only if the husband was unaware that the woman he was marrying was pregnant by another man.
  • Adultery: A spouse has a sexual relationship with another party outside of the marriage.
  • Abandonment: If your spouse abandons you for more than a year, a judge can dissolve your marriage.
  • Conviction: This is an acceptable ground for divorce if your spouse has been convicted to a prison sentence of two or more years for a crime involving moral turpitude.
  • Habitual intoxication: This condition involves an extended period of alcohol abuse and addiction.
  • Cruel treatment: Various kinds of physical and mental abuse perpetrated by your spouse are considered cruelty.
  • Incurable mental illness: A divorce may be granted if your spouse has been institutionalized for more than two years since your marriage.
  • Drug addiction: An extended period of drug abuse/addiction is a ground for divorce.

Contact Athens divorce attorney Michael S. Brown to discuss your options in pursuing a fault-based divorce from your spouse.

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