Spousal support is Georgia’s equivalent of alimony. Spousal support is most often awarded in divorces that involve a long-term marriage between spouses who have significantly different incomes.
If your spouse requests spousal support, the court will decide based on several factors.
Factors that determine spousal support
The court will determine if your spouse should receive spousal support and what the amount of the award will be. There is not a set formula. The judge will decide based on the economic need of your spouse and your ability to pay. The court considers a variety of factors when determining the amount:
- Living standards of you and your spouse while married
- Your spouse’s age, physical condition and earning potential
- Length of the marriage
- Your spouse’s non-income contributions to the marriage
- Your earning potential, debts and financial situation
Length of spousal support
If you are your spouse’s only source of income, your spouse may receive temporary spousal support while your divorce is being contested. The length of time spousal support continues after the divorce varies. The intent is to provide your spouse time to become self-sufficient. The judge may base the award on the length of your marriage or the amount of time it will take for your spouse to generate a steady income.
If your spouse receives a support award, you will not have to pay indefinitely. You may request modifications to the award if your or your ex-spouse’s income changes. However, failure to pay without approval from the court can result in jail time or garnishment of wages.