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How long does alimony last in Georgia?

by Sharon Jackson  on May 8, 2023 under 

Georgia law does not limit how long alimony may last. The duration of alimony is defined by the particulars of the divorce case. The court may decide on the duration of alimony if the parties are unable to reach an agreement. The court takes into account a range of factors when deciding whether to grant alimony, how much to grant, and for how long.

Factors Affecting Georgia's Alimony Support Duration

The primary consideration a judge usually assesses when deciding how long alimony payments in Georgia should last is how long the marriage lasted. The "one year of alimony for every three years of marriage rule of thumb" is occasionally used by family courts, although it's not always the case. For deciding the duration of alimony payments, family courts often regard each divorce case as distinct.

A court may also take the following into account:

  • Reasons that led to the divorce
  • The lifestyle that a couple had adopted while they were married
  • The financial situation of both partners
  • The couples' ages and state of health
  • Both partners' capacity for employment
  • A spouse's capacity to continue making alimony payments
  • The level of each spouse's involvement in raising and taking care of their children (if any)

In some situations, alimony may be granted for a set amount of time to provide the spouse receiving it (the recipient spouse) time to reestablish their financial stability, maybe by finishing their degree or obtaining new employment. At times, alimony may be granted indefinitely, particularly when one spouse is unable to support oneself because of old age, poor health, or other circumstances.

Types of Alimony That Exist Under Georgia Law

In Georgia, alimony may take the following forms:

Permanent alimony

When a marriage lasted for a very long time, permanent alimony was frequently awarded. It may also be allowed if there is a considerable disparity in the financial situations or employment prospects of the two couples seeking a divorce.

Theoretically, permanent alimony payments continue until one spouse passes away or the recipient spouse remarries. There are, however, several situations in which courts may decide to change an alimony award. In other words, just because something is dubbed "permanent" alimony doesn't always indicate that it will last forever.

Periodic or Temporary Alimony

This kind of alimony entails paying payments over a predetermined time frame. When a divorce is being processed, temporary support is usually granted. When one spouse will be living by themself and without a source of income, this may be very crucial.

Temporary alimony may be granted for a brief length of time to provide the recipient spouse time to finish their school or complete employment training in order to regain their financial footing.

Rehabilitative Alimony

When one has become accustomed to depending on their partner for financial security, adjusting to life after divorce can be a challenge. As a result, courts may mandate that spouses pay rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony aids in a person's financial recovery or increases their employability following a divorce.

Rehabilitative alimony, for instance, might pay for the expense of education or employment training. Mostly usually, this kind of alimony is just temporary.

Is it Possible to End Alimony Early?

Interestingly, there are three situations in which alimony may stop early and before the time period specified by the court or parties' agreement expires.


The requirement to continue paying alimony ceases if the spouse receiving it (the recipient spouse) marries again while the payments are still required to be paid. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, alimony obligations are canceled upon remarriage.

Georgia Code Title 19, Domestic Relations Section 19-6-5 states that, unless otherwise specified, all obligations for permanent alimony, regardless of how they were created, must expire upon remarriage of the person to whom the obligations are owing. In other words, the receiving spouse loses their right to alimony if they get remarried.


Cohabitation by the recipient spouse and an intimate partner does not require the termination of alimony, as opposed to the recipient spouse's remarriage. In general, alimony is immediately ended if the recipient spouse gets remarried unless there is a different arrangement; however, alimony may be changed if the recipient spouse simply cohabitates with someone else. As a result, the paying spouse must ask the court to modify the amount of alimony due as a result of the recipient spouse's cohabitation. O.C.G.A. Section 19-6-19 (b).

Either Spouse Dies

In accordance with O.C.G.A. 19-6-7 (2020), in essence, this means that the spouse who is required to pay alimony no longer has to do so after that spouse passes away. Nonetheless, these payments may be recovered from the estate of the deceased spouse if the payments were meant to be lump sum alimony or if they were intended to be a settlement for property.

How Support Payments May Suddenly End

If the paying spouse can demonstrate that the recipient spouse's situation has significantly improved (for example, by winning the lottery, receiving a sizable inheritance, getting remarried, and so on.), support payments may be terminated suddenly through a divorce modification process. The paying spouse may also be able to change the amount of monthly payments by trying to prove continual financial hardship.

Contact us

If you want to find out more and receive the support you need, call Georgia Family Law Attorney Sharon Jackson right away at (678) 909-4100 to schedule your free initial consultation.


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