Financial matters are often at the root of many disputes during a divorce. People are worried about their financial stability, and some want to use money to punish an ex. Because of this, issues related to monetary support – such as alimony – can be contentious.
If you plan to request alimony or you are in a position to pay it, you should understand the disputes that can arise and how you can resolve them as peacefully as possible.
Deciding whether it is appropriate
Parties often disagree on whether alimony is necessary in the first place. However, you can review the factors Georgia courts use to assess petitions for alimony. In general, maintenance can be appropriate in cases involving one party at a significant financial disadvantage and longer marriages.
Parties can also use a prenuptial agreement to decide for or against alimony. These contracts can be in place long before a divorce.
If you still do not agree on whether alimony is appropriate, one party can request that the courts decide.
Calculating a fair order
There is no precise calculation for alimony, which makes it challenging to decide on an amount. However, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has a tool that can estimate alimony payments using each party’s income and the number of years they have been married.
Parties can also negotiate the amount in mediation as part of the larger property division discussion.
In addition to deciding what is a fair amount, divorcing spouses must also consider what is reasonable in terms of duration. Most people do not have a permanent order for maintenance. Instead, the orders will be in place for a set number of years or until the receiving spouse becomes self-sufficient.
Enforcing a court order
Once an order for alimony is in place, parties should make every effort to comply with it. This means paying the full amount at the specified time. If the paying party fails to this, they face enforcement actions that include wage garnishment and possible incarceration.
However, if your circumstances change significantly, either party can request a modification of the existing order.
Alimony can be a thorny issue in a divorce. However, knowing what to expect from the process and what the law says can help you make informed choices to secure a fair settlement.