Experienced Alimony (Spousal) Support Law Firm with Attorneys in Gainesville, GA and Braselton, GA
At McLeod Law Firm P.C., we know that one of the biggest concerns 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 experience handling them for our clients’ benefit.
Whether you have been the main income-earner during your marriage or the dependent partner, we have the resources and tools to ensure you can start the next 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. “[A]limony is authorized, but not required, to be awarded to either party in accordance with the needs of the party and the ability of the other party to pay.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1. 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 income.
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.
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., we will work with you to file a motion for a hearing to establish temporary alimony and at the same time may request a temporary award 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.
Amount, Duration, and Payment of Alimony
If the court decides that alimony should be awarded in your case, it must then determine the amount, duration, 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 of alimony in your case, a judge or jury will assess various circumstances incorporating those set out by O.C.G.A. §19-6-5, 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
We can persuasively guide the court through the process of evaluating these factors and determining the amount of alimony and support you will likely be awarded or liable to pay.
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 circumstances, you can request to have your spousal support payments modified. Under Georgia law O.C.G.A. §19-6-19, Situations where a modification of alimony may be allowed include the following:
- A change in your employment status or income, such as a loss of employment
- The onset of a debilitating medical condition that impacts on your ability to keep working
- Your spouse moving in or cohabiting with another partner in a meretricious relationship
At McLeod Law Firm P.C., we will employ years of family law experience to advise you on your specific situation and whether you have legitimate grounds for a modification of your spousal support payments. We can also help you gather the evidence you need to present the best case possible.
Enforcement of Alimony
If your ex has stopped making alimony payments, you may need to take legal action to collect the past due support. Orders for alimony may be enforced by a contempt action or writ of fieri facias. An experienced attorney can talk to you about your specific situation and advise you on the best way to collect your past due spousal support.