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When may alimony be awarded to individuals in Georgia?

So-called "alimony reform" has been a fairly hot topic over the last few years in many places. There is a segment of the population that apparently believes that the practice of awarding alimony, especially permanent alimony, is an outdated one, and that it treats certain parties in a divorce situation unfairly. While we will not wade into that argument, as it relies very much on one's personal opinions on a number of issues, it may be important for Georgia residents going through a divorce to understand what the law currently says about alimony in the state.

Let's start with a very brief look at the basics. Alimony is historically meant to help one party in a marriage to be able to maintain a standard of living that he or she otherwise might not be able to if that individual may have foregone certain economic or educational opportunities in the course of the marriage, perhaps, for example, in order to raise a family. The basics of alimony in Georgia law are contained in Georgia Code Section 19-6-1.

This section of the law defines alimony as a payment from one party's estate to another's party's estate. It is intended to support the receiving party once both parties are living separately. The statute may prohibit the award of alimony to a party who caused the break-up of the marriage by abandoning the other party or by committing adultery. It should be noted that this can be shown to a court by the preponderance of the evidence, even if the divorce is sought on a legal ground other than adultery or abandonment. In any other case in which alimony is asked for, a court may grant it to one party, though it doesn't have to. If someone does request alimony, the law makes it clear that neither party is to make major changes in the assets he or she possesses except for bona fide transactions in the normal course of business, until a decision is made.

The above is, of course, a very brief and basic description of alimony in Georgia, and cannot serve as the basis for any cause of action regarding alimony. People with questions about how alimony may apply to their specific situation may wish to consider consulting a family law attorney.

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