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Alimony and dating while separated in Georgia

In Georgia, judges have a lot of leeway when it comes to deciding alimony (spousal support) amounts. Ten judges could look at the same case and come away with 10 different payment amounts. Each case would have a well-reasoned explanation behind the award.

That said, many judges follow general guidelines, and an attorney can help you prepare a case as to why you need a certain amount of support or, conversely, why you should not have to pay a certain amount to your soon-to-be-ex. One thing to keep in mind is that Georgia does allow adultery to bar alimony. Thus, it may be wise to refrain from dating at all until you are officially divorced.

A gray, blurry line

Many, if most, judges understand that it is natural to want to date after separation but before a divorce is final. They typically do not want to penalize anyone for that. However, the picture can become murky if the other party in the divorce raises questions as to when exactly the dating began.

This could be true especially if the person you are dating is someone you knew beforehand, say, a co-worker or family friend. In fact, your soon-to-be-ex could even argue that a relationship between you and the person you are dating began long enough ago that it is the driving force behind the divorce. It may not be true, and your spouse may not even be lying, per se. He or she may genuinely believe it, and authenticity is hard for a judge to ignore.

If you want to begin dating someone before the finalization of your divorce, it can be a good idea to explain the situation to your attorney. He or she can advise you of any wrinkles to look out for. And, of course, if you have been dating someone before separation, your attorney can advise you on how to proceed.

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