In Georgia and elsewhere, couples deciding to divorce or in the divorce
process often consider whether alimony is needed. Alimony is when one
spouse provides the other spouse with either temporary or permanent monetary
support. In Georgia, there are no set guidelines for alimony and how it
may be awarded. In one state, spouses are allowed to divide future earnings
resulting from licenses and degrees earned during a marriage as alimony.
Unlike Georgia and most states in the country, in New York, professional
licenses and degrees may be considered marital property. Spouses who have
earned a license or degree during the marriage and later decide to divorce
may have to consider the lifetime value of the license or degree in alimony
calculations. An expert values the license and degree, and the value is
then divided in an alimony award; it is extremely difficult to modify
the alimony award. Some advocates for a new state law have called for
permanent spousal support, which may better protect the interests of women
who they believe primarily hold the burden of supporting a spouse through
the spouse's education and licensing process.
Alimony is awarded to prevent any unfair consequences of a divorce on a
spouse by providing a monetary income to a spouse that earns lower wages
or does not earn wages. In Georgia, the court will consider numerous factors
in deciding whether alimony is appropriate. Some factors include: the
earning capacity of each spouse, the standard of living of the couple
during the marriage, the assets of each spouse, the present income and
financial status of each spouse and the length of the marriage. Generally,
alimony is rehabilitative, or temporary; payments are ordered for the
time it takes the spouse receiving alimony payments to become self-supporting.
In a divorce, couples must decide how to financially separate their marital
property as they begin to create two separate homes. Alimony may provide
assistance to spouses to receive training and education so that they may
become financially independent and begin their new lives.