A Substantial Change In Income Or Financial Status
Check with your attorney and state law about what constitutes a substantial change, but know that you cant alter any payments because of standard cost of living increases or small changes in income or financial status . Substantial change means major life events like losing a job, a sharp increase in medical expenses, or a disability that affects your income.
Substantial changes in income work the other way too. A significant increase in income from a raise, a new job, or a booming business may also impact alimony and child support payments. A court will need to see proof of this substantial change in income or financial status, and your family law attorney can help you collect that proof. That means if youve experienced a significant financial hit or if your ex-spouse suddenly gained access to more income, you may be able to modify any existing alimony agreements in a way that benefits you.
How Is Alimony Determined
Wondering how is alimony determined?
Alimony is very different from child support in terms of how alimony is determined.
For example, child support in Georgia is mandated based on very specific formulas.
But with alimony, the divorce courts can make willy nilly decisions on how much alimony is paid and for how long.
The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act recommends that courts consider the following factors in making decisions about how alimony is determined:
- The age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the former spouses.
- The length of time the recipient would need for education or training to become self-sufficient.
- The couples standard of living during the marriage.
- The length of the marriage.
- The ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and still support himself or herself.
The only way to KNOW how much alimony you will pay is to of had prenup alimony laid out before the marriage.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorces In Georgia
What is the difference between alimony and spousal support?Nothing. Those are simply two terms that refer to the same thing support payments paid by one spouse to another as temporary financial assistance to allow the lower-earning spouse time to become financially independent.
When is alimony awarded in Georgia divorces?Alimony is based upon two general principles: The payors ability to pay, and the recipients need for support. In alimony cases, the parties can agree to the alimony details or the details will be determined by the Court. Either way, the Final Order will set forth the monthly amount and the duration of the payments and may include other conditions. Our knowledgeable divorce attorneys have extensive experience in Georgias family court system and we know how to protect your rights and your financial stability.
How is spousal support calculated in Georgia?There are a variety of factors considered when determining the amount of spousal support that is fair to everyone. These factors include:
- Any existing debt and how that debt is divided
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living you had during your marriage
- The impact the spousal support will have on each persons taxes
- Each spouses education level and employability
- Each spouses current job/income and potential income
- Sacrifices each spouse made during the marriage.
How Long Does Divorce Take In Georgia
The length of time a case takes to reach a resolution is entirely dependent on the facts and circumstances in that case. Uncontested cases cases in which there are absolutely no disagreements as to any issues in the divorce can be resolved rather quickly. But contested cases involving custody or the division of substantial assets can take much longer to resolve.
Additionally, each partys respective approach toward litigation always influences the time a case takes to reach a final resolution
What Types Of Alimony Are Available In Georgia
In Georgia, judges can order temporary or permanent alimony. .) Temporary alimony is appropriate in cases where one spouse needs financial support while the divorce is pending in court. The legal process for divorce can take anywhere from a few months to over a year, depending on local rules and the facts of each case. During this time, spouses must adjust from a two-income household to one income.
If you’re used to your spouse working full-time to support your family, it’s common to feel overwhelmed when it’s time to move into separate homes and pay debts that your spouse paid in the past. To ensure financial fairness for both spouses, the court may order one spouse to support the other until the judge finalizes the divorce. An award of temporary support doesn’t guarantee alimony after the divorce. The judge decides whether permanent alimony is appropriate and, if so, will create a new order that will continue in effect after the divorce.
Permanent alimony sounds daunting, but even when the court orders it, it’s rarely for an unlimited period. The most common alimony awards after the divorce are for spouses who need temporary support to acquire job training or education that will allow the spouse to find employment and become self-supporting. Georgia courts reserve truly permanent alimony for spouses who are unable to find a job and support themselves due to advanced age or disability.
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When Do Alimony Payments End
Sometimes, your court order will list a specific termination date for rehabilitative alimony. If not, you may be able to modify the agreement whenever significant changes occur for either spouse. These changes can include the gain or loss of a job or any major changes in income. These changes can be significant because they can alter the financial need or the ability to pay.
Alimony payments will automatically end whenever the receiving spouse remarries. However, the alimony payments may be able to be modified or canceled whenever your former spouse moves in with a new partner.
Calculation Of Alimony In Georgia
An alimony award and the amount to be paid depends on one spouses need for financial support and the others ability to pay. If a court establishes the presence of both, it will consider the following factors before deciding on a final support award:
- The marital living standards of the couple
- The length of the marriage
- The age, physical, and emotional health of each spouse
- The financial resources and earning capacity of both spouses
- The amount of time it would take the supported spouse to acquire education or work training to secure suitable employment
- The contribution of each spouse to the others education and career-building
- The degree by which the supported spouses education or skills got outdated while fulfilling homemaking responsibilities, including childcare
- Each spouses financial situation, including separate assets and debts
- Any other factor the court considers to be pertinent
A family court will also consider whether marital misconduct was the cause for marriage termination. The court may order the reduction or denial of alimony for a spouse that would have otherwise received alimony. This often happens if the court establishes that the spouse committed adultery or deserted the other spouse. Further, the court may order that the victim of marital misconduct be paid permanent alimony.
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Types Of Alimony In Georgia
There are two primary types of alimony in Georgia: temporary alimony and permanent alimony.
Can You Modify Or Terminate Alimony In Georgia
Yes, in specific circumstances, you can seek a modification or termination of alimony in Georgia. Either spouse can request to modify spousal support payments by petitioning the court and requesting more money, a longer duration, or less money and a shorter duration.
The spouse seeking alimony modification must demonstrate a change in circumstances of either spouse before the court will review for a possible modification. For example, a change in circumstances might be if
- the supported spouse is cohabitating in a marriage-like relationship with another person ( known as Georgias live-in lover law
- there is a significant and ongoing involuntary job loss
- chronic and debilitating health issues
- and other similar life events.
Other reasons to seek a modification can include when children graduate from school, get married, or move out of state.
Permanent alimony ends automatically if the supported spouse remarries or when either spouse dies. Temporary support ends when the judge finalizes the divorce.
There are instances where you cant modify spousal support. For example, lump-sum alimony may not be modified. Also, if you agreed on no modifications as part of your original divorce decree, that will supersede a modification request.
Its not a bad idea to seek legal services to advise you in this crucial process.
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What Happens If I Dont Pay Alimony
If youre behind on alimony payments, the amount owed is known as alimony arrears. This amount can be collected via mediation, wage garnishment, or small claims court. Since alimony is a court-ordered payment, it is important that you pay exactly as youre ordered.
Its not uncommon for the paying spouse to be late on alimony payments. With deliberate refusal to pay or habitual payment problems, the court may charge you with contempt and punish you accordingly. Punishment includes penalties, fines, liens on property, or a jail term.
Do You Have To Be Separated Before Divorce In Ga
Georgia does not require spouses to physically separate before filing for divorce. Under Georgia law, the only requirement to file for divorce is that both parties must suspend marital relations with the intent to divorce. So there is no specific timeframe of separation required in Georgia to get a divorce.
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Georgia Alimony Law Is Still Comparatively Traditional
On behalf of Michelle Harrison
Georgia is unusual in that it requires the judge to look at the reason that the parties separated as part of the alimony equation.
Alimony is the payment of support from one ex-spouse to the other. In a Georgia divorce, alimony can be temporary, meaning lasting only the duration of the divorce proceeding or for an additional period of time, or permanent, meaning part of the final divorce order, that may continue indefinitely.
The divorcing parties have the option of negotiating an agreement as part of the divorce settlement in which they decide the terms of any alimony award to which they agree. Otherwise, the superior court judge in the divorce will decide all alimony issues.
Making Alimony Payments In Georgia
In most cases, alimony payments are periodic. This means that they are paid weekly or monthly and continue until the court orders payments to stop. Payment of spousal support may also be in the form of a one-time, lump-sum payment to the other spouse. Depending on the arrangement of spouses, payment of alimony may involve property division, where the receiving spouse usually gets a slightly larger share of the marital property.
Lump-sum alimony payments arent common, as most spouses may not have the funds to make a one-time payment . However, if a spouses circumstances allow for it, such payments can help them avoid ongoing payments.
For periodic alimony payments, the court is likely to issue an income deduction order. This order directs the employer of the paying spouse to deduct alimony from wages and channel the deductions to the family support registry.
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Alimony And Child Support Payments In Georgia
Courts may also consider child custody and child support payments if the requesting spouse is the custodial parent. These factors are taken into account when determining whether alimony is appropriate and in determining the amount as well.
Child custody is particularly considered if the childs age or condition hinders the parent from engaging in any gainful employment outside their home. For such spouses, it would be difficult to care for the child without support. A judge will consider the child support payments made and determine whether the custodial parent needs spousal support.
Unlike calculations for child support, alimony calculation doesnt follow a specific formula. To calculate alimony in Georgia, a judge will consider the factors listed in the previous section and decide the appropriate alimony amount.
How Does Divorce Work In Georgia
Georgia divorce laws require at least one spouse to be a resident of the state for 6 months. Divorce in Georgia is no-fault based, and the most common ground is irreconcilable differences, meaning the parties simply cannot get along and their marriage is at an end. Other grounds for divorce in Georgia include adultery, habitual intoxication and abandonment. Georgia courts require a 30-day waiting period after filing for divorce in order to allow for the couple to possibly reconcile.
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Alimony In Georgia: What You Should Know
Spousal support made national headlines in the late 2010s. For about fifty years, obligees had to report receipts as income, and obligors could deduct the payments. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act reversed these roles. This federal law made receipts nonreportable and payments nondeductible. The jury is still out on whether this change benefitted men or women.
The tax law changed significantly, yet despite some pressure for reform, Georgias alimony laws remain the same. Many reformers would like to change the spousal support laws in Georgia and similar states. These reformers prefer an objective determination thats like a child support guideline determination. But the Peachtree States law is still quite subjective, as outlined below.
Because of the nature of this law, both obligors and obliges have substantial legal and financial rights in this area. Neither spouse must roll over and accept a certain outcome. A serves as a strong voice for you throughout this process. This advocacy helps ensure that the final alimony award is fair to both spouses. In the end, thats usually what everyone wants.
Alimony In Georgia Calculator
But here is an Alimony in Georgia Calculator.
If you want an in-depth break down of how alimony in Georgia is best calculated, check out the Alimony Formula.
How long does alimony last is determined by how long you have been married.
The alimony calculations for duration are as follows :
So, if your marriage lasted 10 years, how long alimony lasts is only six years.
10 years of marriage x 60% = 6 years of alimony
So, when it comes to the AMOUNT youll pay, heres a general formula for how alimony is calculated.
How your alimony most likely will be calculated is 35% of the payees gross income minus the receivers gross income.
Since math is terrible in words, lets do an example.
Lets say that John makes $125,000 per year in gross income. Jane makes $25,000 per year working part time from home.
$125,000 – $25,000 = $100,000
$100,000 x 35% = $35,000 in annual alimony
$35,000 / 12 months = $2,916 per month in alimony payments.
Remember how we calculated 6 years of alimony payments?
John would be paying Jane $2,916 per month for 6 YEARS.
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Factors In Determining Alimony In Georgia
When a spouse requests alimony through a court petition, before awarding alimony, the judge must find that one spouse needs the support, and the other can pay.
If there is a need and an ability to pay, the court will consider the following factors as part of the divorce process when creating a final support award:
- The couples marital standard of living
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouses age, physical, and emotional condition
- Both spouses financial resources
- The time necessary for the supported spouse to acquire sufficient training or training to find appropriate employment
- Each spouses contributions to the marriage, including childcare, education, and career-building of the other spouse
- The financial conditions of each spouse, including separate property, earning capacity, and separate debts
- And such other relevant factors the court deems equitable.
Is Custodial Status Considered When Determining Alimony In Georgia
Georgia courts do not consider child custody status when determining alimony payments. This means that alimony calculations are not affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children. However, child support payments can be a factor when determining the amount of an alimony award.
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How Long Does Alimony Last In Georgia
If you are going through a divorce in Georgia, you might be wondering how long alimony will last. This is an important concern for both paying and receiving spouses. Paying spouses may be worried about the financial impact of the divorce, and they may be concerned that alimony will last too long. This can create a considerable burden after the marriage comes to an end. In contrast, receiving spouses may be worried about the possibility of receiving too little, and they may be concerned that the alimony will not last long enough. Fortunately, Georgia follows a few basic guidelines when it comes to alimony, and these guidelines allow you to estimate how long your alimony will last.
That being said, each divorce is different, and the length of alimony can depend on a number of unique factors. Because of this, it is best to book a consultation with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in Georgia. When you speak with one of these legal professionals, you can start to figure out how long your alimony might last. While internet research is a positive starting point, you need targeted, personalized legal advice to move forward in an efficient, confident manner.
The Length of Alimony Depends on the Length of the Marriage
You should also know that adultery can have an impact on Alimony in Georgia, as guilty spouses may lose the ability to receive alimony. In other cases, they may have their alimony payments reduced significantly.