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How is Spousal Support Calculated?

Determining Support

Alimony or spousal support is calculated by comparing the "needs" of the receiving party with the "ability to pay" of the paying party.

There is no set standard in order to calculate alimony in Georgia. Alimony is usually determined by agreement of the parties or at the discretion of a judge.


The court looks at a number of factors in order to determine how much alimony a spouse should receive, if any. These factors are:

  • the parties' standard of living during the marriage,
  • the length of the marriage,
  • the physical and emotional condition of the parties,
  • the financial assets which belong to each party,
  • how long it will take the receiving spouse to obtain appropriate employment,
  • each spouse's contributions toward the marriage,
  • the financial circumstances of each party, and
  • any other relevant factor.


There are four types of alimony in Georgia: Periodic, Lump Sum, Temporary, and Permanent. With Periodic alimony, the paying party makes routine payments to the receiving party over a specific time period. This is likely the most common type of alimony awarded in Georgia.

Lump sum alimony is paid to the receiving spouse through one set amount. Temporary alimony payments are ordered by the court to manage the parties' finances while the divorce case is pending.

Permanent alimony does not necessarily mean that alimony a party will receive alimony for their remaining lifetime. It simply means that it is alimony incorporated in the final divorce decree, rather than temporary support.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

In Georgia, alimony rarely continues for the remainder of a person's life. Either the parties will agree or the judge will decide on a set number of years for alimony to be paid to the receiving spouse.

Georgia law does provide for 3 circumstances which would terminate alimony earlier than the agreed upon or court ordered time-period. The paying spouse is no longer obligated to pay alimony if the receiving spouse remarries, cohabitates with a romantic partner, or dies.

Click here if you would like to schedule a free telephone consultation with one of our family law attorneys to discuss whether alimony is appropriate in your case.

Written by: Rebekah Ann James


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