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Alimony Modification: Re-marriage and Georgia's "Live-In" Lover Statute


by Meriwether &Tharp LLP

Although there are several grounds for ending alimony, one of the most common is that a party decides to remarry. In these types of cases, O.C.G.A. § 19-6-5(b) indicates that a prior award of alimony can be modified if you decide to get re-married, and the modification will result in terminating your former spouse's alimony obligation. What many people find surprising, however, is that remarriage is not the exclusive defining test for ending alimony.

Much more common is that after a parties divorce, one of the parties decides to date and eventually decides, without getting remarried, to move into the same residence with their new significant other. The State of Georgia has enacted a law, which is commonly referred to as the "live-in" lover statute, which addresses this exact situation. According to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-19(b), if you and your significant other are living together and having sexual relations, then your former spouse can file for modification of alimony upon the ground that you and your significant other are living together in a meretricious relationship. Adding to the equation, the court will be under the assumption in this type of situation that your need for alimony has just decreased because you are now splitting financial responsibilities with this person.

When deciding whether you want to seek a modification under this type of situation, you need to keep in mind that the court will require that you submit proof of this meretricious relationship. In addition, you must always be mindful that if the judge decides after reviewing the petition and the evidence that your former spouse is not living in a meretricious relationship, then you would be responsible for paying all of your former spouse's attorney's fees incurred in defending the action in addition to being responsible for your own attorney's fees.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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