Paying Alimony: When is Spousal Support Valid?Written on May 13, 2014
Alimony can be a contentious topic after a couple divorces. Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is money that is paid from one spouse to another after a divorce is finalized. The amount, as well as the duration of those payments, is ordered by a judge as part of the divorce proceedings.
If you are the party that is ordered to pay alimony, it can become a monthly burden that hangs over your head and affects your bank account every time that payment is due. If you are receiving alimony, it can be equally stressful if the payments are late or not the full amount you are expecting. For a lot of people, after a divorce, alimony is a critical part of the monthly budget.
In Georgia, calculating how much alimony is to be paid isn’t a black and white formula. The dollars involved are determined on a case by case basis.
Some of the factors a court will take into account include:
•Each spouse’s earning capacity, financial resources and debt
•The marital standard of living
•Each spouse’s age and medical situation
•The length of the marriage
The court will also consider why the marriage ended. If it can be proved that one spouse committed adultery or abandoned the other spouse, alimony may not be awarded. In most cases, a set amount is ordered to be paid for a specific length of time. The court may also order a single, lump sum be paid.
Alimony can be modified or changed over time. One example is remarriage. If the spouse receiving alimony remarries, the court will order the payments be terminated. The amount may also be altered if either side can show significant life changes like the loss of a job or a serious medical situation.
So what happens if you are aren’t receiving the alimony you are entitled to? The first step is to seek legal counsel, which may or may not be the attorney that handled your divorce, and file a motion in court. From there the judge has a lot of flexibility. The court can garnish wages, order assets be seized or even have the nonpaying party jailed on a contempt charge. Jail is usually the last option because if a person is behind bars they can’t earn money to pay the outstanding alimony. There are also instances when the judge orders the payment be made to the Sheriff’s Office so the amount and timeliness of the payment can be tracked.
Let’s take a look at the other side of the issue. What if you have been ordered to pay alimony and simply can’t afford it? That’s a big difference from the person who has the means to make the payment but simply doesn’t want to. Ending up with your wages garnished or even in jail would be a disastrous outcome. If you are behind in support payments and your former spouse files a motion, don’t walk into that courtroom alone. You need effective legal counsel to protect you, your assets and your freedom.
Nobody gets married expecting to get divorced. The reality is, though, sometimes it happens. When that’s the case, alimony can quickly become something both sides must deal with. The attorneys at The Silverbach Group are here to help you no matter which side of the issue you are on. You can reach us at 678-635-0334.