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Divorce and Alimony

Overview

Sometimes marriages don't work out. Because marriages are legal contracts, the law requires that they be dissolved by the court. Divorce requires the sanction of a court in a legal process, which may involve issues of alimony (spousal support), child support, child custody, and distribution of property.  Click here for more information on Child Support.  Click here for more information on Child Custody.  Please see below information for Divorce and Alimony.

Grounds for Filing for Divorce

The spouse filing for divorce must state the grounds for which the divorce is being sought. The grounds for divorce need to be agreed upon by both parties or the filing spouse must be able to substantiate the reasons for divorce.

 Fault

There are 12 grounds for divorce in the state of Georgia. In order to claim a particular ground for divorce, certain legal qualifications must be met.  The following are grounds for divorce in Georgia:

  1. Partners are related by blood
  2. Mental incapacity at the time of marriage
  3. Impotency
  4. Force, menace, duress or fraud was used in obtaining the marriage
  5. Pregnancy of the wife by another man at the time of marriage, unknown to the husband.
  6. Adultery by either party
  7. Routine use of alcohol
  8. Incurable mental illness
  9. Drug addiction
  10. Cruel Treatment
  11. Either party is sentenced to two or more years in prison for an offenses such as, rape, embezzlement, murder
  12. Intentional desertion of either party for at least a year.

No Fault

A no fault divorce means  that you do not have to prove that your spouse did something wrong to get the divorce.   If a marriage is "irretrievably broken" and there is "no hope of reconciliation" a no fault divorce can be filed.

Alimony

Overview

Alimony is monetary support paid from one spouse to the other.  Alimony is usually only awarded when a long-term marriage ends.  In order for alimony to be awarded, one spouse must show a need for support and the other spouse must be able pay.  Either spouse may receive alimony as long as they did not desert or commit adultery.  If the spouse receiving alimony remarries, alimony will be terminated.

Determining Factors of Alimony

If both parties cannot agree on the terms of alimony, the court will determine the amount and the duration.  The following are factors that the court uses to determine alimony:

  1. The length of the marriage.
  2. The ages and medical conditions of each party.
  3. The future earning capacity of each party.
  4. The value of each parties separate property.
  5. The contribution each party made to the marital estate.
  6. The standard of living maintained during the marriage
  7. Rehabilitative time one party may need to gain employment.

Modifications to Alimony

In the state of Georgia alimony can be modified under certain circumstances.  Alimony is "subject to revision upon petition filed by either former spouse showing a change in the income or financial status of either former spouse." In addition, "the voluntary cohabitation of such former spouse with a third party in a meretricious relationship shall also be grounds to modify provisions made for periodic payments of permanent alimony for the support of the former spouse."  Therefore, if the spouse paying alimony begins cohabitation with another partner, the spouse receiving alimony can get a modification.

Division of Marital Property

What is Marital Property?

Marital property is defined as anything purchased from the date of marriage until the date of filing for divorce.  Marital property includes both jointly titled property and property titled in the name of only one spouse.

What is Separate Property?

Separate property is anything either spouse brought into the marriage.   Separate property also includes any gifts or inheritances either spouse received during the marriage.

How is Property Divided?

A judge or jury decides how a couple's property is divided.  The court will decide on an equitable distribution of property.  An equitable division is determined by what the court deems as being fair.  Each spouse will keep their separate property and marital property will be divided based on equitability.  When determining equitable division of property, the court looks at what each person put into the marriage, as well as the needs of each spouse.

Child Support

Click here for more information on child support.

Child Custody

Click here for more information on child custody.