Saturday, March 24, 2012

What is Alimony?

Many people have heard the word alimony but aren’t sure exactly what it is. When a couple is divorcing their once shared assets are divided up and that may include a sudden decrease in previously shared income for one spouse. Alimony can be appropriate in any divorce where one spouse earns less than the other and they are in need of financial support during a divorce. “Alimony is payment by one spouse to the other for support and maintenance.” GA Bar.

Alimony is either ordered as temporary or permanent. Temporary alimony is ordered in the amount needed to keep things as they are while the divorce is in process, while permanent alimony is awarded when the divorce is final for long-term support.

As with many issues in divorce, spouses can agree to the terms of the alimony on their own. Typically in uncontested divorces alimony is not seen, but if the parties agree otherwise, it can certainly be part of their final divorce.

If the parties cannot agree on alimony, and one party is requesting it, then Georgia Courts award alimony according to the needs of the spouse. “The judge shall consider the peculiar necessities created for each party by the pending litigation.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-3. The judge has broad discretion when ordering alimony, in fact, there is no set formula in Georgia to determine the amount of alimony.

Finally, alimony is barred if the reason for divorce is the requesting party’s adultery. O.C.G.A. 19-6-1.

If you are considering divorce but concerned about your finances, alimony may be the solution. Call the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC for your initial consultation. 770.466.2700

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