Handling Family Law Matters in Georgia for Over 20 Years
At McLeod Law Firm P.C., we know that one of the biggest worries for those experiencing the breakdown of a marriage is the financial implications of a divorce. Alimony payments (also known as maintenance or spousal support) are one of the most highly contested issues in Georgia divorce cases, and our law firm has significant expertise and over 20 years of experience handling them to our clients’ benefit.
Whether you have been the main household income earner during your marriage or the dependent partner, we have the resources and tools to ensure that you get what you need and deserve so you can start your new phase of life in the best financial position possible.
Types of Alimony (Spousal Support) Available in Georgia
In Georgia, the courts have broad powers to determine the award of spousal support and they can make temporary, rehabilitative and permanent alimony awards. The court will assess any award on the needs of the party seeking alimony and the capability of the other party to pay. Either spouse, regardless of gender, may be required to make alimony payments, and generally speaking, a spousal support award will take into account the ability of the dependent partner to earn his or her own income.
The court can award temporary alimony for a short period of time so that the dependent partner can pay his or her bills and expenses while the divorce case proceeds through the court.
At McLeod Law Firm P.C., our family law attorneys work with you to file a motion for a hearing to establish temporary alimony and at the same time may request a temporary advance of your legal fees and child support if appropriate.
The court can award rehabilitative alimony to either party with lesser employability or earning capacity for a defined period while they become adjusted to their new circumstance.
The court, as part of the final divorce decree, may award permanent alimony to the dependent party. If this is awarded, it is worth noting that compensation is not required after the death of the recipient and normally, unless the court makes certain provisions, if he or she remarries.
In some circumstances, both parties may be able to agree on the terms of any rehabilitative or permanent alimony payments, in which case the court will typically incorporate this agreement into the final divorce decree making it binding. At McLeod Law Firm, P.C., we can review any agreement you and your spouse reach prior to it being presented in court and advise you on the implications and pitfalls of the agreement often providing substantive improvements.
Please be aware that you will unlikely be entitled to alimony, even if you are the dependent partner, if your spouse can establish to the satisfaction of the court that the marital breakdown was caused by your adultery or desertion.
Deciding the Amount of Alimony
If the court decides that alimony is suitable in your case, it must then determine the amount to award and best method of payment. The court has wide discretion in this area and can order a lump sum payment, periodic payments or a combination of the two. The court can also order indirect alimony, such as the payment of medical insurance, life insurance and mortgage installments to benefit the recipient spouse.
In deciding the amount and type(s) of alimony in your case, a judge or jury will assess various circumstances incorporating those set out by state law, which include the following:
The standard of living established during the marriage
The duration of the marriage
The age, physical and emotional condition of both spouses
The financial resources of each party
The time necessary for either spouse to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him or her to find gainful employment
The future earning capacity of each party
The contribution of each during the marriage, including his or her involvement in homemaking, childcare, education, and the career building and support of the other spouse
The conduct of each party toward each other during the marriage
The separate assets of each party
Any other relevant factor that the court deems fair and proper to consider
An expert family law attorney can persuasively guide the court through the process of evaluating these factors and determining the amount of alimony and support you will get or are liable to pay. At McLeod Law Firm P.C., we will act aggressively and compassionately for you by thoroughly investigating all of your spouses’ assets, sources of income and other relevant evidence so that we can present the best case to the court to support your circumstances.
Modifying Alimony Payments
In certain cases, where there has been a significant financial change in your circumstances, you can file a motion to have your spousal support payments modified. Situations where a modification to alimony may arise include the following:
A change in your employment status or income, such as a loss of employment
The onset of a debilitating medical condition
A serious injury sustained at work that impacts on your ability to keep working
Your spouse moving in or cohabiting with another partner
At McLeod Law Firm P.C., we will employ our 20 years of family law experience to advise you on your specific situation and whether you have legitimate grounds for a modification in your alimony and spousal support payments.
Tax Consequences of Alimony Payments
We advise you to consult with a tax professional about the consequences of any alimony payments you make or receive. Usually, the spouse who is ordered to make alimony payments by the court may deduct these from his or her gross taxable income and the recipient of these payments must declare them as part of his or her gross income.
We are here to help you. Alimony and Spousal Support is a complex matter with many factors influencing whether it is awarded and the extent of the award. It is important that you do not agree to anything without first taking expert lawyer advice. At McLeod Law Firm P.C., we want to guide you through the pitfalls of this area of the law and use our many years of experience to get you the alimony settlement that you deserve
McLeod Law Firm, P.C. provides legal representation based on 20 years of experience and commitment to its clients across North Georgia including Gainesville Georgia, Hall County, GA, Cumming, Jackson, Dawsonville, Forsyth County, and Dawson County. We continually update our practice to incorporate the most appropriate communication, technological, and legal advances in an effort to better serve our clients. We are located in historical downtown Gainesville, Georgia.
CALL (770) 536-0202 TODAY FOR YOUR INITIAL CASE EVALUATION!