Child Visitation, Spousal Support, And Asset Division – Navigating The Many Aspects Of Georgia Family Law
Are There Factors That Can Influence Whether Or Not Alimony Or Spousal Support Will Be Awarded In A Georgia Divorce Case?
Georgia courts consider a few criteria that can influence whether or not spousal support is awarded in a divorce case. These criteria typically include:
- The length of the marriage;
- The ability of each parent to earn income;
- The extent one parent has stayed home with the children and contributed to the well-being of the home;
- If either has any disabilities;
- The assets each parent has, to varying degrees in relation to what they are going to be awarded in the divorce settlement.
How Long Will I Have To Pay Alimony Or Spousal Support In Georgia?
How long you have to pay spousal support in the State of Georgia depends on your specific case.
Court-ordered alimony can be rehabilitative alimony, or alimony for a determined period of time. The intention is to empower the recipient to do something like go to college and get a degree or study a trade.
Alimony can also be permanent. In these cases, it stops only under certain circumstances, such as the other parent getting married. Although extremely rare, in Georgia, there are times when the alimony does not cease even after a spouse remarries, however. Each case is unique and thus can only accurately be advised after one-on-one counsel with a lawyer.
I Can No Longer Afford The Court Ordered Alimony Support Order. How Do I Petition For A Reduction Of My Alimony Payments?
To petition for a reduction of your alimony payments, you typically have to file a petition in the court that rendered the judgment. There are instances where you can file if the payee has moved, however.
In Georgia, defendants are where the county of venue is. Thus, you would generally file in the county where the defendant lives, but you can also file in the county where the order was rendered as long as one party still lives there.
As an example, let’s say both parties in a recent divorce live in Whitfield County. The wife received alimony and then moved to Murray County after a year passed. In this case, she could file in Whitfield or Murray County, although she would most likely file in Murray County. If she moves out of state, she would have to file in Whitfield County, however.
The petition itself is not very complicated. It essentially is simply informing the court of the changes to your circumstances and then requesting the reduction. The judge then decides whether or not to grant it.
How Are Assets Divided In A Georgia Divorce Case?
Georgia uses an equitable division system to determine how assets are divided in divorce cases. The outcomes are not necessarily equal, however.
First, the court defines marital and separate property. Separate property is property that goes to the individual owner and includes things like:
- Personal possessions from before the marriage;
- Gifts you received during the marriage;
- Inheritances you received during the marriage.
- If you inherited money during the marriage, it would still be yours, unless you commingled it with marital assets.
After separate property is accounted for and removed from the equation, marital property remains. This is then divided by the court. One of the main factors the court takes into consideration when making this determination is who made contributions toward the value of the particular asset in question.
For example, if you and your ex-spouse bought a house while married, the court will examine the financial contributions of both towards the value of the house. If one party worked on the house, making payments and taking care of any children while the other contributed nothing, the court is going to look favorably toward the one who contributed more than the one who did not. In these cases, the party that contributed will likely get more than 50% of the value of the house awarded to them.
This, like so many other things in family law, is contingent on the judge’s discretion and an array of possible exceptions. A common one is if children are in the picture – courts often make exceptions to keep one parent in the house with minor children so the children do not have to move.
Our law practice has the expertise and experience to position you for the best outcome possible.
How Are Debts Divided In A Divorce Case In Georgia?
The State of Georgia usually divides debts roughly equally in divorce cases. Typically, courts determine who the debt in question belongs to, in terms of title. If the total amount comes out to be roughly equal, then each party pays their own debts.
If the amount is not roughly equal, judges generally assign debt repayment to the individual that incurred the debt. If the debt in question is a joint debt, the judge has to assign who is to pay the debt.
The courts take into consideration several factors when making this determination:
- The amount of income each party makes;
- The value of assets each party holds;
- The tendency for each party to incur debt.
For more information on Family Law in Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step.