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The basics of alimony

Many people going through divorce have questions about alimony. What is alimony, how is it determined and how long will it have to be paid are some of the most common questions about alimony.

Alimony is a monthly payment that one spouse pays to the other spouse according to the divorce settlement or court order. Alimony payments are supposed to help deter any unfair financial consequences of divorce to one spouse, such as a stay-at-parent or a spouse who does not work.

How are alimony payments determined? Alimony payments are calculated based on specific Georgia guidelines and since the state hasn't reformed their alimony laws yet, how long a spouse is required to make alimony payments varies on the factors listed below:

Prenuptial agreement signed? Prenuptial agreements can stipulate if alimony payments will be required and for how long according to the terms of the contract.

Rehabilitative alimony: this type of alimony is supposed to help former spouses for a limited time until he or she can support him or herself and the payments are usually only required until a certain date.

Permanent alimony: this type of alimony can continue indefinitely but most of the time these payments are discontinued once a spouse remarries.

Alimony can be a complicated issue for many people getting divorced and specific circumstances will need to be considered when calculating alimony in divorce cases. This is why it is beneficial for individuals getting divorced to discuss their specific case with a divorce attorney before negotiating a divorce settlement.

Source: FindLaw, "Paying Alimony: How Long Can It Continue?" Cynthia Hsu, March 17, 2013

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