If you are considering divorce, alimony (also known as spousal support) may be one of the topics you and your partner discuss. Although the state does not require either spouse to pay alimony, a couple seeking an uncontested divorce must either waive alimony or submit their agreement to the court before a divorce decree is issued.

When one partner expects alimony and the other does not want to pay, the issue can become contentious. Fights about alimony can delay the divorce and cause both spouses to incur unnecessary legal expenses.

A Douglasville alimony lawyer could help a spouse determine whether a court will likely award alimony in their specific case and, if so, how much. If ongoing alimony seems appropriate, one of our seasoned family attorneys could help a couple reach and formalize an agreement.

Alimony Explained

Under Georgia state law, spouses must support each other financially. When couples separate prior to the issuance of a final divorce decree, the lower-earning spouse could seek temporary alimony. If a court grants the request for temporary alimony payments, the obligation to pay them could conclude when the divorce is finalized. In certain instances, the obligation to pay alimony could continue after the divorce action is finalized for a specific duration of time.

The law does not require continued alimony support after the end of the marriage, but the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-6-5 allows a Judge to grant alimony if the circumstances merit it. The factors a Judge may weigh when considering whether to award alimony support include the:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage
  • Age, mental health, and physical health of each spouse at the time of divorce
  • Financial circumstances of each spouse after divorce
  • Contributions of each spouse during the marriage, giving credit for childcare, homemaking, and supporting the education and career of the other spouse

A Douglasville alimony attorney could advise a couple on whether a Judge is likely to award alimony. In general, a spouse whose marriage lasted at least a decade and who gave up career or educational opportunities for the other spouse might receive alimony until they can support themselves. A spouse who was married for a shorter time or maintained a career throughout the marriage is less likely to receive such payments. An older spouse who did not earn substantial income throughout a lengthy marriage might receive alimony sufficient to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage, if the other spouse has the means to pay it.

Alimony Agreements

As with every aspect of divorce, it benefits the couple to come to an agreement regarding alimony. A Judge’s decision regarding the issue is unlikely to reflect the spouse’s needs and capacities as well as an agreement the couple negotiated between themselves.

If the divorce is contested and alimony is an issue of disagreement, alimony lawyer in Douglasville could negotiate with the other spouse’s attorney or represent a spouse at a mediation to resolve the issue. An agreement should cover the amount of alimony to be paid, how it will be paid, how long it will be paid, and which events terminate the obligation to pay it.

Modifying an Alimony Order

Under state law, if the receiving spouse remarries or begins cohabitating with an intimate partner, the paying spouse may seek a modification of the alimony order. Other circumstances may also occur that require one spouse or the other to seek a modification of an alimony order.

In general, the spouse seeking the change must prove that a material change in their circumstances requires a new arrangement. Some events that could support a request to modify alimony include a:

  • Significant increase or decrease in either spouse’s income or expenses
  • Severe or debilitating illness
  • Catastrophe or emergency, such as losing a home to fire or flood, or assuming the care of a disabled child or parent

Spouses can negotiate an alimony modification and present their agreement to a Judge. If one spouse contests the change, an alimony attorney in Douglasville could file an action seeking a modification.

Bring Your Alimony Concerns to a Douglasville Alimony Attorney

If alimony is a contentious issue in your divorce, seek help from a well-practiced Douglasville alimony lawyer. An experienced legal professional could evaluate the probability of a court awarding alimony in your specific case and help you and your spouse resolve your dispute fairly.

alimony support issues are complicated, and you should not try to manage them on your own. Call Bardley McKnight Law today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.