How Do Courts Award Alimony During Divorce?

Alimony or spousal support is often a serious point of contention in many divorce cases. The issue is frequent and can cause significant problems with finances during and after divorce. Given that each case is different, there can be many factors to consider when awarding alimony.

So, courts often have standard factors they consider when determining how much to award as alimony. Family law attorneys in Metro Atlanta highlight the following crucial factors:

  • The couple’s living standards during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • Whether the couple has children from the marriage
  • Age and health status of both spouses
  • Each spouse’s income and their daily living expenses
  • What each spouse has saved up so far during the relationship
  • Child custody arrangements and child support orders

Based on these factors, and others depending on the specific case circumstances, the court may order temporary or permanent spousal support. Skilled alimony lawyers in Alpharetta provide an overview of the differences between the two types. They can also help you fight for the most favorable outcome to protect your rights and future.

What is Temporary Spousal Support?

Temporary alimony is an order issued during a divorce or legal separation after one party files such a request with the court. The court sets a hearing after a motion document called “Request for Order” is filed with the family court. Each party must present an Income and Expense Declaration to prove their financial status.

Temporary alimony aims to preserve the petitioner’s status quo, enabling them to maintain some semblance of the life they had during the marriage. The court has significant discretion and authority to grant or deny temporary spousal support and to decide how much to grant.

This type of alimony is also known as pendente lite spousal support, meaning an order issued when a divorce case is pending. Consult Alpharetta alimony attorneys before filing the request for an overview of your options and what you can do to enhance a favorable outcome.

Can Temporary Spousal Support Be Modified?

Some primary factors courts consider when awarding temporary support are the recipient’s need for money and the payer’s ability to pay.

Other factors also come into play on a case-by-case basis. A temporary alimony order can be modified without the petitioner proving a substantial change in circumstances.

However, you would only want to file a modification petition for a temporary alimony order with some change of circumstances. The court would not be pleased with a motion requesting a modification of something they already ruled on for no justifiable reason.

What is Permanent Alimony?

Permanent alimony is the money one spouse pays the other for some time. The payments aim to help the less financially fortunate spouse maintain a reasonable living standard after the divorce. Unlike other types of post-divorce financial support like child support, alimony has no specific timeframe for how long the payments should continue.

However, the permanent alimony can be terminated under the following circumstances:

  • The receiving spouse starts to live with a romantic interest or remarries
  • A court-predetermined period of permanent alimony payments expires
  • Either the recipient or alimony provider dies
  • Change in the circumstances of both parties affecting the need for alimony or the ability to pay

In most cases, the amounts are negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the help of knowledgeable alimony lawyers in Alpharetta. Additional factors a family court can consider when awarding permanent spousal support are:

  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage, career, and education
  • Tax consequences of the support arrangements
  • The assets and debts of both parties
  • Other reasonable factors the court finds necessary to determine a just and reasonable award.

What Are the Outstanding Differences Between Temporary and Permanent Alimony?

Crucial elements that differentiate temporary and permanent alimony are:

  • Temporary alimony is ordered while a divorce case is pending, while permanent alimony is part of the divorce decree issued at the end of the case
  • A court can order temporary support during an annulment but not permanent alimony
  • The primary factors in determining temporary alimony are the need for support and the ability to pay, while permanent alimony considers many factors.
  • Temporary support can only be ordered if the spouse in need of support files a motion, while permanent alimony is part of the final divorce decree.
  • Temporary alimony can be modified after a trial or hearing, but it is relatively uncommon. However, permanent spousal support can be modified if the petitioner can prove material and substantial changes.
  • Temporary spousal support lasts for a specific time, usually during the divorce proceedings, while permanent alimony has no definite time when it can be terminated. In most cases it ends when either spouse dies or the recipient remarries.

Consult skilled family law lawyers in the Metro Area to help you determine whether to request temporary spousal support and how to better your chances of the most favorable outcome when determining permanent alimony at the end of the divorce case.

Navigating Temporary and Permanent Alimony with the Guidance of a Skilled Alimony Lawyer

Alimony is one of the issues a court must determine during a divorce proceeding. The court may order temporary support while the case is pending to help the less financially advantageous spouse maintain the status quo. Permanent alimony is determined at the end of the proceeding and ordered in the divorce decree.

Skilled alimony lawyers in Metro Atlanta can work with you to protect your rights in both cases. Hecht Family Law works with clients seeking legal support for the most favorable outcome in their divorce cases. Our skilled alimony lawyer can navigate family laws to achieve the desired result. Call our office at 470-291-5342 to receive a FREE case evaluation.