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Alimony

How is Alimony Calculated and when do Payments end? 

What is Alimony? Alimony Defined

The definition of alimony is simple. Court ordered payments made by one spouse to another spouse for support and maintenance while the parties are living separately. Essentially, one spouse will be court ordered (typically as part of a divorce) to make monthly payments of a certain amount to their spouse for a certain period of time. In theory, alimony payments recognize that one spouse has a reduced earning ability or even no earning ability and this spouse may require support and maintenance for a certain period of time. Alimony is not necessary in every case. In Georgia, there is no formula or calculation for determining alimony. The court will weigh out the parties' "needs" vs. "ability to pay" and the length of the marriage to determine if alimony is appropriate. For example, if both spouses earn $100,000 and were only married for 3 years, alimony will probably not be necessary. Conversely, if you have a 20 year marriage where one spouse makes $150,000 and the other spouse earns no income, alimony is likely.

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How is Alimony Calculated? 

Once it is determined that alimony is appropriate in a particular case, the court will look at the "needs" of the receiving party and compare that to the paying party's "ability to pay." This analysis will give the court a general idea of whether one spouse has a real legitimate need for alimony and if the other spouse can realistically afford to pay alimony. Next, the court will consider 8 Alimony Factors according to Georgia law. The court will match up each factor with the individual unique facts of the particular case and then make a fair and equitable determination as to the monthly amount of alimony the must be paid. To learn more about the 8 factors and calculating alimony feel free to read more below.

Does Adultery/Cheating Affect Alimony? 

Yes. Adultery and cheating by the recipient spouse could actually bar that spouse from asking for alimony. For adultery to bar a party from being able to seek alimony, it must be shown that the adultery was the cause of the divorce or separation. Additionally, the adultery must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. There are several issues regarding adultery and how to prove it. Fell free to read more.

When Does Alimony End? 

Permanent alimony for life is extremely rare in Georgia. Typically the longer a marriage is, the longer the paying spouse will make payments and vice versa. Alimony is typically court ordered for a specific set amount of time. Once that time is up, the alimony payments may stop. There are a three circumstances that could cause alimony to end or terminate early.

Click here to read more about how long alimony will last.

1

Remarriage

2

Death of Either Spouse

3

Cohabitation

Remarriage for alimony
Remarriage

Alimony may terminate early upon the remarriage of the receiving spouse.

death of a spouse
Death of Either Spouse

Alimony will terminate early upon the death of either spouse.

Moving in with romantic parter in cohabitation.
Cohabitation

Alimony may terminate or be modified if it proven that the receiving spouse has cohabitated with a romantic parter.

Can you Modify Alimony? 

Man thinking of modifying alimony

Yes. Life happens and circumstances change. Alimony may no longer be appropriate. After a divorce matter is concluded and a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce is entered in the matter, an action for a modification of alimony may be filed by either of the former spouses to seek a reduction or increase in the amount of alimony paid.

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