Legal Counsel You Can Count On

Can a pattern of excessive spending affect alimony awards?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Divorce

In Georgia, financial matters such as alimony and debt division can complicate a divorce. Variables such as the length of the marriage and financial need factor into alimony decisions.

However, excessive spending by the spouse requesting alimony can influence a court’s decision.

The impact of excessive spending

When a court considers a request for alimony, it aims to ensure that both parties can maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce. However, if one spouse has a pattern of excessive spending, it can significantly affect their ability to receive alimony payments.

Excessive spending may indicate financial irresponsibility or an inability to manage finances effectively. In such cases, the court may be less inclined to award alimony to the spouse.

Factors considered in debt division

In Georgia, the average consumer debt per household is $94,927. There can be a relationship between debt division and alimony. Here are a few examples.

  • If one spouse has a significant portion of the marital debt, it may impact their ability to pay alimony. The court considers each spouse’s financial resources, including debts, when determining the amount of alimony.
  • One goal of alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a standard of living similar to what they enjoyed during the marriage. If debt division significantly affects the standard of living of one spouse, it could influence the amount of alimony awarded.
  • In some cases, the structure of alimony could compensate one spouse for taking on a disproportionate share of the marital debt. If one spouse agrees to assume a significant amount of debt in the divorce settlement, they may negotiate for higher alimony payments to offset this financial burden.

When determining how to divide debts, the court takes several factors into consideration. First, the court will assess the total amount of debt accumulated during the marriage. This includes both marital debts, incurred during the marriage for the mutual benefit of both spouses, and separate debts, which belong to one spouse individually.

Next, the court will consider each spouse’s ability to repay the debts. If one spouse has a significantly higher income or greater assets, they may have to assume a larger portion of the debt burden.

Additionally, the court will evaluate the circumstances surrounding the incurrence of the debts. For example, if one spouse accumulated debt through reckless or wasteful spending, they may be responsible for a larger share of the debt.

Ultimately, the goal of debt division in a Georgia divorce is to achieve an equitable distribution that takes into account the financial circumstances and contributions of each spouse.