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Qualifying for Spousal Support After a Georgia Divorce

Spousal support, also known as alimony, may be awarded to a spouse in need of financial assistance after a divorce, provided that the other spouse has the ability to pay. Unless the parties come to an agreement about the amount and duration of support, the court will make the determination.

By statute, Georgia courts may grant spousal support, either temporarily or permanently, based on consideration of the following factors:

  1. The standard of living established during the marriage
  2. The duration of the marriage
  3. The age and the physical and emotional condition of both spouses
  4. The financial resources of each spouse
  5. Where applicable, the time necessary for either spouse to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment
  6. The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care and education and in helping further the other spouse’s career
  7. The financial condition of the spouses, including their separate property, earning capacity and fixed liabilities

A court can also consider any other factor that it may deem equitable and proper.

The need for spousal support is most often found in longer marriages where one spouse sacrifices his or her career to tend to the home and raise children. Support is granted to support that spouse for the time necessary to obtain the qualifications for a good paying job. If both spouses have significant financial resources, the court is unlikely to find that either one needs support. Furthermore, even if one spouse shows the need for support, the court may deny it upon finding that the divorce was precipitated by that spouse’s adultery or desertion.

Ability to pay will be based on a spouse’s income history, assets and debts. The court must consider the foreseeable ability of the payer to earn a living while making support payments. If the traditional breadwinner of the couple is approaching retirement age or recently disabled, it can affect a court’s decision about spousal support.

Even if it is permanent spousal support is ordered, it usually does not continue indefinitely. Changes in the life circumstances of either ex-spouse can justify a reduction or cessation of spousal support. Remarriage of the ex-spouse receiving support automatically ends the duty of the other to pay. An experienced Georgia spousal support attorney can advise you about how courts decide on modification of support awards.

Located in Newnan, the Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC serves clients throughout Georgia in divorce and other family law matters, including eligibility for spousal support. Contact me online or give my firm a call at {PHONE} for an initial consultation.