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How does spousal support work in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2023 | Divorce

Spousal support can help prevent financial hardship for a spouse who has less earning potential than the other spouse in a Georgia divorce. Not all spouses qualify for spousal support.

How does spousal support work in Georgia?

Who is eligible?

Judges consider several factors when deciding whether to award spousal support:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Living standards during the marriage
  • Earning capacity of both spouses
  • Age and physical condition of each spouse
  • Non-economic contributions to the marriage
  • Conduct of both spouses

Judges may disqualify a spouse if there is evidence that the spouse’s adultery or desertion caused the marriage to end.

How do courts calculate spousal support?

There is no specific formula that courts must follow to calculate spousal support. The judge has the discretion to determine the award based on the needs of the receiving spouse and the ability to pay of the other spouse.

How long does support last?

Spousal support may be temporary or permanent. Judges may award temporary support while the divorce process is ongoing. Permanent support is not actually permanent. Judges usually award permanent support for the amount of time the judge believes is necessary to provide the receiving spouse with time to become financially self-sufficient.

Some judges may base the length of support on the length of the marriage. The paying spouse may be able to get the court to modify the order with proof that the other spouse’s financial situation has improved or that the paying spouse’s financial situation has worsened.

Georgia’s spousal support law leaves the decision about whether to award spousal support and how much largely up to the court. Different judges often have different criteria which may make the process more difficult for divorcing spouses to navigate.