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The 8 Factors of Alimony/Spousal Support in Georgia

The Marital Standard of Living & Length of marriage

Alimony and Spousal Support are considered to be the same thing, and often the terms are used interchangeably.

The Marital Standard of Living & Length of marriage are the first two factors listen in O.C.G.A. 19-6-5 that the Court considers when deciding on an award of alimony. Typically speaking, the longer the marriage, the more weight the court will give to any considerations of alimony. However, there is no legally specified minimum amount of a time a marriage has to last for alimony to be considered. 

The ‘marital standard of living’ is the level of comfort you enjoyed while married. This comfort is of course not emotional, it is instead material and financial. Having a high standard of living while married does not entitle either spouse to alimony. Alimony is meant as aid to keep a basic standard of living and ensure all needs are covered. Presenting in front of a judge what you consider to be reasonable needs in order to keep a similar lifestyle is where a strong divorce lawyer comes in. 


Age, Physical, and Emotional State

Age is an important factor when arguing in favor of alimony. As we mentioned above, alimony is about one financially disadvantaged party in a marriage having sufficient funds to sustain themselves independently. Age comes into play because a person’s employability is often directly tied to their age. 

Health and mental state plays part of this same logic. If one of the spouses in a divorce suffers from a chronic illness or some form of mental health issue then their considerations for alimony could be stronger. 


Financial State of both Parties

This factor plays a huge role in whether or not alimony (and how much) is awarded. Needs (and ability) is what determine whether one party pays the other party alimony. The more resources one spouse has, the higher the likelihood they will pay alimony to the spouse with less resources. Resources include income, property, assets, retirement accounts, and more. 


Employment After Divorce

Employability is also one of the things a judge looks for when making an alimony decision. Say for example you married young and became a homemaker or were financially supported by your ex-spouse. Being out of the workforce for a long time might hamper your chances at employability. This is where temporary alimony might come into play. A judge might award this until one party is able to become employed or complete training or education with the goal of becoming employed. 


Conditions, Contributions, and other relevant factors

This factor takes into account both monetary and non-monetary contributions both spouses made to the marriage. The court may look at these contributions when considering the needs of either spouse once the divorce is complete. Non-monetary contributions might be for example child-raising and homemaking. They go much further than that though. Making these choices during a marriage can lead to a diminished capacity for employment if the marriage comes to an end. This will raise the question of alimony in court.

The court will also examine the condition of both parties and any other relevant factors towards determining alimony. Your divorce attorney can determine which other relevant factors to present before the court. They can also help demonstrate the condition of both parties.