When and How Can Spousal Support Be Modified in Georgia?
After a divorce, one spouse may be entitled to receive financial support from the other. Spousal support, also commonly known as alimony, is most often awarded when one spouse has significantly less earning potential than the other and needs assistance to maintain a lifestyle at the level that existed during the marriage. Though support can be paid in a lump sum, payments in most cases are periodic, i.e. monthly, and continue for a certain number of years. Since economic and personal situations can and do change, the amount of periodic support can be modified with proper justification.
Under Georgia law, spousal support can be adjusted when either ex-spouse has a substantial change in financial status. If the recipient has an unexpected loss of income, the court may order the payor ex-spouse to increase the amount of the periodic payment. If the recipient has an increase in their income or receives a windfall (such as a large inheritance), the court might decrease the amount of support. If the payer of support suffers an unexpected loss of income, the required payment may be reduced. Conversely, if the payer’s income increases or he or she receives a windfall, the payment might be increased.
Periodic spousal support can also be affected by the recipient’s remarriage or cohabitation with another. If the recipient remarries, then support from the former spouse can be terminated. If the recipient cohabits with another person as part of a continuous romantic or sexual relationship, support may be modified or terminated based on a court’s consideration of the circumstances.
All modifications of spousal support must go before the court that issued the original order. Decisions on support modification matters are highly dependent on the facts of each case. The party seeking modification and the one opposing it must each present sufficient evidence supporting or refuting a substantial change in circumstances. There can be significant financial and tax implications of spousal support for both the payor and the recipient. Even if the parties agree on a modification, it must be approved by the court to be enforceable.
Located in Newman, Georgia, the Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC has many years of experience in spousal support matters. My staff and I will make sure that your case is handled competently and efficiently. If you have a family law or spousal support matter feel free to contact me online or give my firm a call at 470-344-8550 for an initial consultation.