When a couple goes through a divorce, one of the components to consider is alimony or spousal support. Although alimony is a possibility, it is not a given. The judge considers certain factors to determine whether to award alimony, the amount of support and other terms.
If a judge orders one spouse to pay alimony, it may be for a short period of time or more permanent, with terms outlining factors that would allow for termination of payments.
According to the State Bar of Georgia, a judge determines alimony on an individual basis, and either the wife or husband may be the recipient of alimony payments. The state has no official rule regarding how to determine alimony, and there is no specific formula to determine the number of payments.
In general, the judge looks at one spouse’s need for support and the other’s ability to pay it. However, just because one party has been dependent on the other, there is no guarantee of an alimony order. If the dependent party abandoned the other or had an extramarital affair, the judge may use this as a reason not to award support.
If one spouse is dependent on the other, the judge will look at a variety of factors:
- Income of the working spouse
- Assets and liabilities of each party
- The ability of a dependent spouse to earn income
- Contribution of each spouse to family’s needs
- Length of the marriage
If a judge awards alimony, the number of payments may be eligible for modification if there is a substantial change in either party’s financial situation. The termination of alimony may occur if the one receiving the support remarries.