Atlanta Alimony and Divorce Lawyers
After a divorce is complete, the courts will set specific orders regarding a number of situations to ensure both spouses maintain the quality of life they had during the marriage. One thing that must be considered is alimony, which is also often referred to as spousal support.
For any couple who is going through divorce, it's crucial to recognize what alimony is, how it is determined, and what factors go into deciding when it can be modified. Having this knowledge can help you work on a favorable agreement that fits both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse moving forward.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is an amount of monetary support one party must pay to the other party after the divorce is final. The idea behind alimony is that it allows for a continuation of the quality of life the two enjoyed during the marriage. In most situations, alimony is paid by the higher income earner to the person with less or no income.
For instance, if one party is a business professional and the other partner stayed at home and made a smaller income from an at-home business, the higher paid business professional is more likely to pay alimony. The idea is that the lower income person does not make enough to maintain a certain lifestyle. Alimony supplements the cost for that lifestyle.
Factors used to determine whether to award alimony include:
- The income of both parties
- The payments and debts of both parties
- The needs of each party to maintain a quality of life
- The recipient's earning potential
- The payor's earning potential
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties
- The length of marriage
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage
- The time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable them to find appropriate employment
- The conduct of the parties
Alimony may be granted at both a temporary hearing or during the final hearing of a case. Whenever an action for divorce or for permanent alimony is pending, either party may apply at any time to the presiding judge of the court in which the same is pending, by petition, for an order granting the party temporary alimony pending the issuance of a final judgment in the case. After hearing both parties and the evidence as to all the circumstances of the parties and as to the fact of the marriage, the court may grant an order allowing such temporary alimony, including expenses of litigation, as the condition of the parties and the facts of the case may justify.
Alimony can be awarded on either a temporary or permanent basis. Temporary alimony is usually for a short period of time to allow for the receiving spouse to get on their feet to become self-supporting. Permanent alimony is for an indefinite period of time until changed by a court order. Permanent alimony is typically only awarded in long-term marriages where one spouse has been substantially dependent on the other for their financial support.
It is important to note that a party shall not be entitled to alimony if it is established that that party's adultery lead to the separation between the parties. In all cases in which alimony is sought, the cause of the separation is relevant to the determination of whether alimony is appropriate.