Experienced Newnan Lawyer Handles Spousal Support Disputes
Georgia attorney offers skilled representation to secure your financial future
When you are going through a divorce, spousal support and alimony can be among the most important issues to be resolved. Whether you anticipate paying or receiving, you need a fair court order based on your actual financial circumstances and other relevant factors. With The Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC handling your divorce or managing a subsequent alimony dispute, you get a seasoned attorney who gives meticulous care to the details and pursues the best possible outcome.
Types of spousal support available in Georgia
Under Georgia law, there are three basic types of alimony:
- Pendente lite alimony — This is temporary spousal support during the divorce An order for pendente lite alimony terminates when the court issues the final divorce decree.
- Rehabilitative alimony — This is support meant to assist a dependent spouse for a period of time while she or he becomes self-supporting.
- Permanent alimony — Lifelong alimony is increasingly rare, reserved for marriages of long duration and/or for cases of a dependent spouse not able to become self-supporting. Permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the recipient spouse.
Alimony in Georgia is gender neutral. Either party to a divorce can request alimony but there is no automatic right to it. Although alimony is usually paid on a periodic basis, lump-sum alimony is sometimes an option.
How Georgia courts decide alimony issues
Georgia Code § 19-6-5 requires a family law court to consider numerous factors when deciding whether to order alimony and in what amount. The primary factors are the financial needs of the recipient spouse and the other spouse’s ability to pay. Other factors include:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties
- The time necessary for the recipient to acquire education or training to find appropriate employment
- The contributions of each party to the marriage, such as homemaking, child care, education, and helping the other party build a career
Unlike child support, there is no specific formula for alimony in Georgia. It is totally in the court’s discretion whether to award it, and if so, how much and for how long. As your advocate for a fair alimony order, I make sure the court is aware of all pertinent factors that could promote a determination in your favor.
Enforcing and modifying alimony orders in Georgia
An alimony order has the force of law, so when a spouse willfully withholds payments, the recipient spouse can ask the court to enforce the order. The court has the power to garnish wages, seize assets, intercept tax refunds and lottery winnings, suspend driver’s licenses and professional licenses and even order jail for a party who willfully refuses to pay.
However, if paying spouse claims serious financial hardship, the court may be willing to modify the alimony order. The court must be satisfied that a substantial change in financial circumstances has occurred, that it is likely to be permanent and that the paying spouse is not hiding income or deliberately earning less to avoid paying alimony. An obligor can also seek a modification if the recipient has entered into another supporting relationship, but has not remarried. Until the court issues a modification, the old order remains in place, so it’s important to seek a modification as soon as possible after a change in circumstances occurs.
Contact a knowledgeable Newnan lawyer for a free alimony consultation
The Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC represents Georgia clients in spousal support disputes during and after divorce. Please call 470-344-8550 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation at my Newnan office.