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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Celebrity Divorce Lesson: Georgia, other States Vary re Alimony

In an October 21 blog post, we pointed out that alimony (also referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support) is a concept that is not routinely viewed the same way across the United States. Some states lean more toward the liberal end of the spectrum in their application of alimony, whereas others, like Georgia, far from routinely award alimony.

In fact, and as we pointed out, Georgia didn’t even recognize spousal support until the Divorce Code of 1980, which provides for alimony to now be awarded in a court’s discretion based upon a number of enumerated statutory factors.

Enter Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, a celebrity actress and basketball player, respectively, whose marriage is ending and is now – as situations involving celebrities often do – helping to prominently spotlight an area of law, namely, alimony.

In short, here are the facts. Longoria filed for divorce first, in California, seeking alimony from Parker. Judges in California have ample discretion to award spousal support and, like courts in Georgia, consider a number of factors in determining whether or not to do so. Receiving alimony in California is far from a rare occurrence.

Conversely, it is in Texas, a state that does not even legally recognize alimony. This is precisely where Parker, a Texas resident, filed divorce papers in turn. Texas law does provide for spousal maintenance in certain instances, but a couple must first leap a hurdle that Parker and Longoria never got over: A marriage must have lasted 10 years, and the Parker/Longoria tenure fell far short of that.

So, there would be absolutely no chance of Longoria receiving any support payments from Parker under Texas law. Further, and even though the door is technically open on the subject in California, judges there typically look for situations where one spouse is comparatively disadvantaged in career prospects, financial resources and so forth. It is hard to argue that Longoria is even remotely descriptive of such a person.

In Georgia, where a court has wide latitude in assessing alimony and there are no specific guidelines for determining eligibility, a party with questions or concerns regarding spousal support is advised to contact an experienced family law attorney.

Related Resource: www.latimes.comTony Parker files for divorce from Eva Longoria, Texas-style” November 22, 2010