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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Does permanent really mean forever with alimony?

If you’re currently in the throes of divorce, chances are you have a lot on your mind. From dividing marital assets to negotiating a fair – or at least reasonable – child custody order, divorce forces you to consider a lot of things, including things you don’t normally think about, like alimony.

Most people who go through divorce simply want to be done with their ex-spouse when everything is all said and done, but alimony seems to throw a wrench into the mix. That’s because alimony forces the paying person to continue to be a part – albeit a minuscule one – of their ex’s life. And if that order is for permanent alimony, the worry is that they may never truly be free from their ex.

Despite its name, permanent alimony doesn’t always mean forever. Unlike temporary alimony orders that terminate after a specified period of time, permanent alimony orders continue until certain conditions are met, which can include a significant change in financial circumstances that would warrant modification of the court order or remarriage.

Under Georgia law, alimony obligations – even permanent ones – terminate upon remarriage, freeing the paying spouse from the feeling of having to remain a part of their ex’s life. Even court order modifications can eliminate this “for life” feeling by setting a time limit on the order or terminating it altogether.

Whether you consider yourself an average person or a high-income individual, the thought of having to financially support your ex-spouse for the rest of your life may cause worry and may even feel archaic considering our current culture. Just remember, permanent doesn’t have to mean forever and a lawyer can help make this a reality if your situation calls for it.