Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a crucial aspect of Georgia divorce proceedings. The goal of alimony is to provide financial assistance to a lower-earning spouse after divorce. In the state of Georgia, like so many jurisdictions, alimony laws have undergone significant changes over the years, reflecting major societal shifts and evolving perceptions of marriage and financial responsibilities. See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1 et seq.This blog post lists 10 things you should know about alimony in Georgia.
Here are 10 key things to know about alimony:
- Purpose: The primary purpose of alimony is to address any financial disparities between spouses that may arise due to one spouse sacrificing career opportunities or income to support the other during the marriage. Perhaps the wife or maybe the husband stayed home to help raise the children and didn’t get a job or start a career. After a divorce, the law and courts have held that the stay-at-home spouse deserves compensation.
- Types of Alimony: Alimony can take various forms, including temporary alimony (during the pendency of the divorce proceedings), rehabilitative alimony (to help the receiving spouse acquire new skills or education so he or she can be self-supportive), permanent alimony (ongoing support until certain conditions are met), lump-sum alimony (a one-time payment), and reimbursement alimony (reimbursement for expenses incurred during the marriage).
- Factors Considered: When determining alimony, courts consider several factors, including the duration of the marriage, the financial resources and needs of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, the age and health of the parties, and each spouse's earning capacity and employability. One spouse may never have worked. One spouse may be well-educated, the other spouse not well educated. One spouse may have many job and career opportunities, the other spouse may not have the same options.
- Gender-Neutral: Alimony laws are now gender-neutral, meaning that either spouse, regardless of gender, can be entitled to receive alimony or may be required to pay it, depending on the circumstances of the case. Women can pay men alimony and men can pay women alimony. And, of course, same-sex marriages and divorces can also involve alimony.
- No-Fault Divorce: As local divorce lawyers, we have seen alimony awarded in both fault and no-fault divorce cases. In a no-fault divorce, alimony may be based on the economic needs and resources of the spouses, while fault-based divorce may consider the behavior of the parties during the marriage. An extramarital affair can impact alimony.
- Duration of Support: The duration of alimony can vary widely and the circumstances of the case. In Georgia, alimony duration is left to the court, but it can be negotiated by the parties.
- Modification and Termination: Alimony may be modified or terminated under certain conditions. For example, if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a new partner, or if there is a significant change in the financial circumstances of either spouse, the court may reevaluate the alimony arrangement.
- Tax Implications: Before 2019, alimony payments were tax-deductible for the paying spouse and considered taxable income for the recipient spouse. However, as of 2019, the tax treatment of alimony has changed, and it is no longer tax-deductible or taxable for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018.
- Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements: Prenups and Postnups are good ideas. Couples can address alimony issues through pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements, which can outline the terms of alimony in case of divorce or separation. These agreements may help provide more certainty and control over alimony matters.
- Legal Assistance: Alimony laws can be complex. If you are going through a divorce and have questions about alimony, it's crucial to seek legal advice from a family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help protect your rights and interests.
Remember that alimony is a sensitive issue, and its determination often depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Courts strive to achieve a fair and equitable outcome that considers the financial needs and resources of both parties involved. When you need a local alimony attorney or local divorce attorney, call us immediately.