Are Professional Licenses or Degrees Considered Marital Property


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.

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