Under Georgia law, alimony may be awarded in a divorce action “to either party in accordance with the needs of the party and the ability of the other party to pay,” taking in account “the conduct of each party toward the other.” OCGA §19-6-1(c). There are eight factors that must be considered in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. OCGA §19-6-5(a).
The seventh factor to be considered is “[t]he condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties.” OCGA §19-6-5(a)(7). This factor considers the financial position each party will be in after the divorce. In general, the greater the separate estate of each party, the less need there is for alimony. However, there is also a greater ability to pay alimony if a party has separate assets from which he/she can draw income. In regard to considering a spouse’s earning capacity post-divorce, the Georgia Supreme Court has stated: “Certainly a wife who has training and skills which could be used to command good earnings but which were not used, because the husband prohibited her from working, will find years later that she has lost her formerly competitive position in the labor market.” Moon v. Moon, 237 Ga. 635, 636 (1976). In a situation such as this, alimony may be awarded to allow the wife time to become competitive in the labor market again.