Alimony payments and the duration to pay them is determined by a fact finder, such as a judge or jury, and is based on a variety of factors. The standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the union, the ages and physical and emotional condition of both parties, their financial resources, their educational or vocational needs, their separate assets, earning capacities, and their fixed liabilities may all impact spousal support payments. The courts may also consider both party’s contributions to their marriage such as homemaking, childcare, education, and career-building when determining alimony in Atlanta.
Evaluating the parties’ respective earning capacities to determine an appropriate amount for alimony requires examining their sources of income through tax returns and employment documents. A self-employed party will likely have their business, financial statements, and general ledger closely reviewed to make sure their expenses are legitimate.
Furthermore, a judge may evaluate a recipient’s educational background, time out of the workforce, goals after the divorce, and whether they have any physical or mental limitations. The courts do not have to impute income to them or assign an earning capacity but may instead encourage them to find employment to support them in the future. Although, a judge may still award alimony to acknowledge a recipient’s contributions to their marriage.
A person’s education and profession also factor in an alimony determination. The courts would look at a payer’s background to see whether they are currently earning as well as their ability to earn more income in the future. Educational and professional backgrounds can help indicate whether a recipient is able to support themselves now and in the future and for how long.
The mental health of one spouse can impact whether they can pay alimony or whether they should receive support. Mental health issues can impact a person’s ability to work and would, therefore, be considered by a judge when determining alimony in Atlanta. The tribunal would also consider a party’s medical expenses associated with their mental illness.
Determining alimony in Atlanta can be influenced by a party’s pre-existing health conditions. Any health condition would be analyzed regardless of whether it existed at the time of the marriage or developed during the union. The court would consider whether that health issue limits the party’s ability to support themselves and whether there are increased expenses associated with the condition that prevents them from working in the future and contributing to their own support.
A person can be barred from receiving alimony if the cause of their separation was their own infidelity or desertion, according to Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-6-1. Local courts do not favor those who commit adultery and subsequently request spousal support from their estranged partner.
The Georgia Civil Practice Act allows legal representatives to seek discovery from the parties in order to ensure fair measurement of their financial situations. It is the responsibility of a recipient party to conduct a thorough discovery which yields a complete financial picture of the opposing party’s income and other monetary circumstances. This would give the asking party all the information they need to present an appropriate case for determining alimony in Atlanta courts.
An attorney working with a person who is seeking alimony would utilize the discovery tools available under state law to obtain and review documentation information on the other party’s financial circumstances to determine their income and ability to pay. Legal counsel would also need to determine whether that person is an alimony candidate.
The next step a lawyer would take in determining alimony in Atlanta involves analyzing a claimant’s expenses to make sure they are reasonable and necessary. They would then identify what assistance they might need from the other spouse after the divorce or during the case to pay those expenses.