Alimony in Georgia: No Guarantees

Thanks to my friend and colleague, Jennifer Keaton, the founder and voice of One Mediation, for sharing this guest blog post about Georgia’s alimony rules..  Jennifer will also be presenting at the DivorceTown Help & Hope Fair in Atlanta on September 27, 2013.  

 

Alimony

In Georgia, alimony – a monetary payment of support – is an unpredictable proposition at best.   There is no formula in the statutes that indicates even what the “range” might be for an alimony payment and there is basically only one bright-line rule regarding what divorces will NOT be eligible for alimony.  Unsurprisingly, alimony can be a very contentious issue in Georgia divorces and be a bar to reasonable and rational settlements.

However, there are a few pieces of information about alimony that may help serve as a starting point for understanding and talking about it:

  • There is permanent alimony and temporary alimony.
  • There is periodic payments of alimony and “lump sum” payment of alimony.
  • Certain forms of infidelity can serve as a bar to an award of alimony.
  • No formula exists for calculating alimony, but generally there is a balancing act set forth in the Georgia statutes regarding the “need” of the party seeking alimony and the “ability to pay” by the other party.
  • Alimony has tax implications for the person receiving the monies and for the person paying the monies.   Click here for quick info on this item.

In divorce mediations, negotiating alimony can be an emotionally charged issue that results in irrational positions.  Sometime the dollars spent fighting over alimony or the amount of alimony are much higher than the actual amount of alimony being disputed.  Adding insult to financial injury, alimony may be deducted from the paying party’s income, while legal fees in divorce may not be eligible for deductions (check out Publication 504 for details).

The bottom line on alimony in Georgia is that there are no guarantees, but getting informed on these issues and consulting with good professionals early in the divorce process is critical to avoiding missteps and preserving finances, time, and emotional capital.


Jennifer Keaton, One Mediation

 

Jennifer Keaton is an attorney and registered mediator in Georgia.  As a mediator, Ms. Keaton helps divorcing parties to focus their time and energy on solutions as it relates to parenting challenges and needs, division of assets and debts, and support issues.  In mediation, Ms. Keaton is known for helping parties find creative solutions to complex problems that still provide greater certainty and predictability as the family transitions forward.  Ms. Keaton’s legal background coupled with a past career as a school teacher is often sought by divorcing parents who have their children’s best interests at heart.

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