Alimony - Your Rights

Has a major change in circumstances affected your ability to pay alimony? If you or your spouse is seeking alimony (spousal support) or is considering seeking alimony, effective legal counsel is critical to the outcome. Talk to an alimony lawyer at The Law Offices of Abbott & Abbott P.C. in Marietta or Canton, Georgia.

Understanding Your Rights

Alimony is a highly subjective decision. If it goes to court, the judge will decide whether your divorce will include spousal support, how much it will amount to and for how long it will be paid. Your divorce lawyer can present the necessary information with an explanation for why alimony is or is not necessary.

  • Courts generally base alimony on need and ability — the need of one spouse and the other spouse's ability to pay. Alimony can provide the dependent spouse with temporary support while pursuing education or a job, for example.
  • In Georgia, a long-term marriage is generally regarded as 10 or more years. Spousal support is more common in long-term marriages.
  • While the length of alimony is discretionary to the judge, a guideline approach is to take one-quarter to one-third of the length of the marriage for the payment of alimony.
  • If circumstances change after the divorce and there are reasons to change the amount of alimony, talk to your attorney about alimony modifications.

Because alimony is entirely within the judge's discretion, your lawyer's aggressive representation can be the difference in whether alimony is awarded.

Alimony Modifications

We help our clients understand their alimony obligations as well as their ability to ask the court for relief of those obligations when the facts warrant it.

  • If your divorce settlement agreement states that alimony is non modifiable, you will not be able to change your alimony payment no matter how much your circumstances or those of your ex-spouse may have changed.
  • To modify your alimony obligation, the judge will require proof of a major change in your ability to pay. Did you lose your job or your ability to work? Have you suffered a catastrophic illness or injury?
  • If you have questions about your alimony obligation, bring in your divorce decree and your lawyer will review it with you. Has your ability to pay changed substantially?
  • Alimony is based on need as well as the ability to pay. Has your ex-spouse's need for alimony changed? Did your ex-spouse get married or get a high-paying job?

Do not make changes in your alimony payments unless the court approves the changes. Changing the payment without a court order can result in a contempt of court action.

We Are There For You

Contact us for an appointment to discuss spousal support in your divorce. Call our office in Marietta (678-905-8781) or Canton (678-792-4908), Georgia, for a free 30-minute consultation. We accept all major credit cards.