Alimony in Georgia: No Guarantees

In Georgia, alimony – a monetary payment of support – is an unpredictable proposition at best.   There is no formula in the statutes that indicates even what the “range” might be for an alimony payment and there is basically only one bright-line rule regarding what divorces will NOT be eligible for alimony.  Unsurprisingly, alimony can be a very contentious issue in Georgia divorces and be a bar to reasonable and rational settlements.

However, there are a few pieces of information about alimony that may help serve as a starting point for understanding and talking about it:

  • There is permanent alimony and temporary alimony.
  • There is periodic payments of alimony and “lump sum” payment of alimony.
  • Certain forms of infidelity can serve as a bar to an award of alimony.
  • No formula exists for calculating alimony, but generally there is a balancing act set forth in the Georgia statutes regarding the “need” of the party seeking alimony and the “ability to pay” by the other party.
  • Alimony has tax implications for the person receiving the monies and for the person paying the monies.   Click here for quick info on this item.

In divorce mediations, negotiating alimony can be an emotionally charged issue that results in irrational positions.  Sometime the dollars spent fighting over alimony or the amount of alimony are much higher than the actual amount of alimony being disputed.  Adding insult to financial injury, alimony may be deducted from the paying party’s income, while legal fees in divorce may not be eligible for deductions (check out Publication 504 for details).

The bottom line on alimony in Georgia is that there are no guarantees, but getting informed on these issues and consulting with good professionals early in the divorce process is critical to avoiding missteps and preserving finances, time, and emotional capital.

 

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