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Alimony: It's not one-size-fits-all

Divorce and related family law matters come with a whole host of assumptions and misconceptions. For the most part, people don't necessarily expect to get divorced. Because of this, many people are unfamiliar with the legal elements of divorce and often rely on the experiences of others to prepare.

As well-meaning as your friends and family may be when it comes to talking about divorce, the fact is every split is different. What happened or didn't happen to them has no bearing on your case. For instance, if your friend tells you she walked away from her divorce with a hefty spousal support order, you will want to take that statement with a grain of salt, since alimony determinations in Georgia vary on a case-by-case basis.

Alimony 101

This doesn't mean divorce is an arbitrary or completely random process, though. There are some legal guidelines in place to help you determine whether alimony may be awarded - and for how long. These guidelines address the following questions:

  1. Will alimony be ordered? Generally speaking, spousal support is ordered if one person will be at a significant financial disadvantage after divorce. Under these circumstances, alimony can ease the transition out of marriage. If you and your spouse both work, alimony may be less likely than if you had left your career to stay at home to raise the kids.
  2. What type of alimony will be ordered? There are two different types of alimony in Georgia: rehabilitative and permanent. Rehabilitative alimony is temporary and lasts until the recipient is financial independent or capable of supporting himself or herself; permanent alimony is, as the name implies, permanent.
  3. How much will be ordered? Alimony amounts are based on several factors, including each person's health and income, the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage and the financial capabilities and limitations of each person.

As you can see, the factors that determine alimony in Georgia depend almost exclusively on the individual case at hand.

Determining alimony

It should also be noted that the alimony decisions are often left in the hands of the court. However, you can also work out a spousal support arrangement through mediation or in a prenuptial agreement, which can give you more control over your financial future. To learn more, talk with an experienced divorce attorney about your needs and goals.

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