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Is Georgia an Alimony State?

by Sharon Jackson  on March 7, 2023 under 

Georgia is not necessarily an alimony state. The spouse's right to ask for spousal assistance is voided in situations like infidelity or abandonment. Spousal assistance is not mandatory in a Georgia divorce, however, it is usually granted when a long-term marriage ends. Typically, those cases involve a ten year or longer marriage, and assistance is usually granted to the spouse who has the least capacity for generating income. 

There were no alimony provisions under Georgia law up until 1980. Alimony in Georgia is permissible in restricted circumstances and is not the comprehensive remedy that it is in other jurisdictions. According to the Divorce Act of 1980, the court may provide alimony to either spouse only if it considers that alimony is required.

Who qualifies for alimony in Georgia?

Both partners may ask for alimony. However, the judge must determine that one spouse needs the support and that the other can afford it before the court can grant alimony. The following elements will be taken into account by the court when determining a final support award if there is a need and ability to pay:

  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age, future earnings, and physical condition of the receiving spouse
  • The earning potential, financial condition, and obligations of the paying spouse
  • Contributions to the marriage that add value but don't generate revenue
  • Any other aspect the judge finds fair. (Ga. Code Ann. § 19-6-5 (2018)

Georgia courts also take into account whether one spouse's transgressions contributed to the marriage's dissolution. If a spouse otherwise qualifies but deserts the other spouse or engages in adultery during the marriage, the judge may limit or even reject alimony payments (Ga. Code Ann. § 19-6-1 (b) (2018). The court may grant permanent alimony to the victim of marital transgressions (Ga. Conn Ann. § 19-6-4 (2018). 

How is alimony calculated in Georgia?

In Georgia, alimony is not calculated using a set formula like child support is. The court will equally consider each element to determine (1) whether alimony is appropriate and (2) the kind, length of time, and total amount of the final judgment if there is no evidence of infidelity or desertion and there is a need and ability to pay.

Examples of alimony in Georgia

In Georgia, alimony may be permanent, rehabilitative, or periodic.

Rehabilitative alimony

Rehabilitative alimony, also known as temporary alimony, is meant to be a short-term solution that helps a spouse to get back on their feet. The majority of divorced couples get temporary alimony payments to help them pay for school or job training that will enable them to obtain jobs and support themselves.

Typically, a spouse who has opted to stay at home and raise children has not been able to acquire the skills required for a successful and lucrative career. Temporary alimony may be acceptable when one spouse needs temporary financial support while the divorce is being litigated.

Permanent alimony

Permanent alimony is typically granted when one of the parties is unable to work because of old age, physical or mental disability. It lasts for a very long time, potentially until the recipient party dies.

Although it may seem intimidating, permanent alimony is rarely granted by the court for an indefinite amount of time. In Georgia, spouses who are too old or unable to work and support themselves are only eligible for really permanent (long-term) alimony.

Periodic Alimony

A type of permanent alimony called periodic alimony is often paid in a series of increments over time. The phrase 'permanent' can be deceiving, in that it does not always indicate 'forever.' Periodic alimony is normally fixed for a certain period of time, although the amount of the installment payments may change.

For instance:

Over a period of five years, one spouse may be granted regular alimony of $2,000 per month; or

During two years, one spouse may get $5,000 per month, and for the next three years, $2,500 per month.

How to Avoid Paying Alimony in Georgia

A lower-earning spouse is given alimony by the court to assist them get back on their feet. Showing the court that your spouse is fully capable of supporting themselves is one approach to avoid paying alimony. A person with a job (or the ability to find one) or who won't have trouble meeting his or her own basic necessities won't likely receive alimony from the court.

Working with your ex-spouse to find a solution is the easiest way to avoid paying alimony. Even if it takes some negotiating, you might be able to come to an understanding between the two of you that takes alimony off the table. Even so, you may definitely use the advice of a divorce attorney to make sure you don't pay a cent more in alimony than you need to.

Contact an experienced Georgia divorce attorney

Attorney Sharon Jackson can help you whether you're requesting alimony in your divorce or contesting it. Contact us right away at (678) 909-4100 to set up your consultation.

Don't stress if the court has already decided on alimony. We can also aid in assisting you with the appeals procedure.


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