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Calculating Alimony: How Courts Decide

Getting a divorce is an expensive process. Then you throw in calculating alimony, which means one person is still making payments after the divorce is settled.

How much is alimony in general? It's hard to put a number on it since there are a lot of factors that go into the decision.

Courts want to make sure that everything from the marriage is fairly divided. Alimony is designed to compensate a spouse for intangible contributions that can't be split.

Determining a Standard

Alimony isn't just awarded by the judge out of nowhere. A spouse has to request it for the court to even consider it.

From there, the judge will look at the standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage and how long they've been in that situation.

Judges ideally want to lessen any drop in the standard of living for either person. The goal is to put both people on a relatively equal playing field after the divorce.

Measuring Each Spouse's Income

Part of the way to give both spouses a fair start is to evaluate each spouse's current earning potential.

For a spouse requesting alimony, the judge will evaluate why that spouse has a lower earning potential. Giving up career opportunities in order to provide child rearing or other domestic duties could increase the amount of alimony.

Continued care for children is also a factor since it can limit future earning potential as well. The primary caregiver of young children may get more alimony to cover that.

But if that spouse can easily increase his or her earning potential or is no longer caring for children, the court may choose not to mandate alimony or significantly limit the amount of time that it is available.

Additional Factors for Georgia Divorces

Georgia has both fault and no-fault divorce options when it comes to filing. If you filed a fault divorce for one of the reasons available, that can be part of determining alimony.

Courts can consider marital misconduct when it comes to determining alimony and the victim can ask for and receive more because of it.

If that kind of situation applies to you, be honest with your attorney about what happened so you can start working on it. And remember, alimony rarely lasts forever.

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