What is alimony?
Alimony is defined as the financial support one spouse pays to another after a divorce. Alimony isn’t a punishment or a reward, it is just a way to provide security to one spouse who earns less than another while they try to establish an income.
The judge evaluates a multitude of factors when calculating alimony but it is most often based on the receiving spouse’s need and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. Aside from that, the judge factors in:
- The length of the marriage
- The health of the parties
- The assets of each party
- The work history and education of the parties
- The job skills of the parties
- The contribution each party made to homemaking
- Who does the most child rearing
- Which one does the most career building
In Georgia, alimony is usually not available to a spouse who caused the divorce by cheating or abandoning the family. Alimony may be ordered for a limited time period, or until the spouse receiving alimony dies or remarries; or it may be paid in one lump sum.
A quick breakdown of alimony in Georgia
Alimony is not something that only men worry about. In 2012, over 50% of single-mother households were living below the poverty level, but over 35% of married mothers had a higher income than their husbands. This shows how crucial it is for women to find an experienced alimony attorney to protect their interests.
The three types of alimony in Georgia are:
Rehabilitative alimony. It’s only paid to a spouse for a specific period of time. It’s a way to help a lower-income spouse get by while they look for a job, go to school or start a business. It is the most common type of alimony in Georgia.
Permanent alimony. It’s paid until there is a change made by the court. Permanent alimony is rare and is usually reserved for an older spouse in a long-term marriage who has little, if any, earning potential.
Lump sum alimony. It’s a non-modifiable payment that is received all at once (or in payments). It is used when monthly payments are deemed inappropriate.
How to qualify for alimony in Georgia
A spouse can qualify for alimony when they:
- Aren’t able to support themselves financially
- Were married for a long time and they have not worked out of the home in a while
- Have a spouse that makes all the money
The court has to take various factors into account when deciding whether you should qualify for alimony. The most common ones are:
- How long you were married
- How old you both are
- What each of your income potential is
- What was your standard of living during the marriage
- How long it would take a spouse to find employment
- Any past efforts a spouse has made to find employment
- How much you each contributed to the marital estate
- The needs and ages of your children
You can increase your chances of getting alimony by:
- Having a plan in place that covers what you want to do for a living, what training it would take, and what it would cost to get started. Judges like a definite, detailed plan of action.
- Showing evidence that if you get the career training you need, it will directly affect your ability to find gainful employment. As an example, if you need to go back to school for your business degree, show how much people are earning with similar degrees and how many job opportunities are available in the field.
- Thinking of alimony as a way to prepare for life after divorce. Use it to propel yourself into a new career and financial stability.
Paying alimony doesn’t have to be all bad
Remember, it isn’t a punishment. It is just a way to get your spouse back on their feet and if you help them to do that with school or retraining then you probably won’t have to pay for very long. There are also various tax breaks involved with paying alimony but you will need to consult a financial advisor to get the most out of those. If you really have a problem giving money to your ex-spouse then you may want to increase the amount you pay for your children’s needs. That way your spouse still has the money they need to find a new job and your children are very well taken care of.