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Georgia's Factors for Determining Alimony

by Meriwether & Tharp LLP

There are several misconceptions about the award of alimony in a divorce case. Some people believe that if his or her spouse commits adultery during the marriage, then the judge assigned to their divorce case will automatically award alimony to the non-cheating spouse. Others think that the judge may also automatically award alimony if they have not worked during their marriage to raise a family and take care of the home.

According to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1, the judge looks at two factors when determining child support - the needs of the party and the ability of the other party to pay alimony. While no one can foresee the future to know exactly what a judge will do in a particular case, Georgia divorce law does provide a list of more specific factors for a judge to consider when awarding alimony:
  1. The standard of living established during the marriage;
  2. The duration of the marriage;
  3. The age, physical and emotional condition of the parties;
  4. The financial resources of each party;
  5. Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him to find appropriate employment;
  6. The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;
  7. The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, and earning capacity; and,
  8. Such other relevant facts as the court deems equitable and proper.
While these factors serve as general guidelines for a court to use when analyzing whether to award alimony, they are not hard and fast rules and obviously leave a lot of room for a judge's discretion in any particular matter. That is why it is important to have an attorney representing you to better predict how a particular judge is likely to rule.

One other important note, adultery is a bar to receiving alimony if adultery is found to be the cause of the divorce.

The law firm of Meriwether & Tharp was established in 1998 in Norcross, Georgia by partners Patrick L. Meriwether and Robert L. Tharp. In 2000, the offices were relocated from Norcross to Alpharetta, Georgia and the firm began expanding its professional staff and focusing its practice on family and business law matters, including divorce, contempt, and modification actions. At Meriwether & Tharp our experienced family law attorneys recognize that domestic troubles can be emotionally and financially taxing. Our lawyers provide personal, individualized legal services, covering the full spectrum of family law issues.

They can be contacted by phone at (678) 879-9000 or
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