Alimony or spousal maintenance can be generally defined as payments made by one former spouse to another former spouse post-divorce. Alimony may be paid on a periodic basis, such as monthly or bi-weekly, or alimony may be paid all at once in one lump sum. Alimony is not awarded in every case. In fact, it is within the discretion of the presiding to determine when to award alimony, and if so, how much. The law regarding alimony in Georgia is very complex, and there are several legal factors that must be considered in order to determine the most appropriate alimony award in each case. Many times, these factors are relatively obvious and self-explanatory. However, there are some pretty quirky aspects of alimony as well. Below is a list of five things that even the most well informed divorce litigant may not know about alimony.
- There is no alimony calculator in Georgia. Unlike child support, which can be determined using Georgia’s Child Support Worksheet, there is no formula or calculator used to determine alimony awards in Georgia. When awarding alimony, Georgia courts must rely on Georgia’s alimony factors to determine the amount of alimony.
- Men are entitled to alimony. Many individuals mistakenly believe that alimony may only be awarded to a wife post-divorce. Although this was previously the law in many states, including Georgia, now both men and women may receive alimony post-divorce if the court determines such an award is appropriate.
- An adulterous spouse is not entitled to alimony. In Georgia, if one spouse proves to the presiding court that the other spouse committed adultery during the marriage, and that adultery resulted in the breakdown of the marriage, the offending spouse is barred from receiving an award of alimony.
- Alimony generally terminates upon the remarriage of the recipient spouse. If the spouse ordered to pay alimony can show the court the recipient spouse has remarried, the obligated spouse can petition the court to terminate the alimony obligation. An obligated spouse may also petition the court to terminate the alimony obligation if he or she can prove the recipient spouse is living with a new girlfriend or boyfriend.
- Alimony is deemed income to the recipient. Because alimony is considered income, a spouse who has been awarded alimony must declare alimony payments received as income for the purpose of taxes. Conversely, the obligated spouse can claim alimony paid as a deduction when filing tax returns.