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Alimony/Spousal Support


If you are contemplating or pursuing divorce proceedings in Georgia, you may need to spend time grappling with the economic concerns that will affect your future—and for good reason. Failing to think through the ramifications of financial arrangements related to the end of a marriage can cause serious hardships in the years ahead. If you need help arriving at a sound agreement with your estranged spouse on alimony or any other divorce matter , you should contact an Atlanta attorney at the Law Offices of Thomas C. Rowsey. For over two decades, we have provided legal guidance to individuals in Roswell, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, and other communities in Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton Counties.


Alimony, also called “spousal support,” can be one of the more challenging issues that divorcing couples must confront. Occasionally, a spouse is resentful of the idea that he or she must continue to support an ex-spouse, and, on the other side, someone may see it as a way to settle the score for a relationship that has deteriorated. Since alimony awards are not based on a set formula, spouses may have very different concepts of what their spousal support agreement should provide.

Alimony, however, is not designed to punish either party for the dissolution of the marriage. Instead, it is aimed at ensuring that there is economic fairness between the spouses following divorce and that neither person is exposed to sudden financial hardship or disadvantage.

The law regards both spouses as income-earners or potential income-earners without making distinctions according to gender. In some cases, no alimony is awarded because there is no economic need for either party. When it is awarded, it is usually a temporary arrangement, in which the higher-earning spouse will provide partial or complete support for an ex-spouse for a fixed period, calculated as the amount of time reasonably necessary for the alimony-receiving party to gain financial independence.

In determining alimony, a court must first determine that one spouse has an economic need that the other spouse is able to meet. Apart from each individual’s current earning capacity, the court will review other factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage;
  • The age and physical and mental health of the spouses;
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, such as earnings, childcare, housekeeping, or support for the other spouse’s career;
  • The separate assets, financial resources, or debts of each spouse;
  • The role that the spouse seeking alimony played in the dissolution of the marriage; and
  • Any other issues the court deems to be meaningful.

No one factor carries more weight than any of the others. The court must consider all of the relevant circumstances in determining what is fair according to the specific details of each case.

In some situations, divorcing spouses choose to form their own alimony agreement. This allows them to insert conditions that a court might not impose under its discretion. For example, while a judge will rarely award permanent alimony, a private spousal support agreement can provide for it. Or a couple can privately agree to continue alimony payments even if the receiving spouse marries again.


There are numerous additional situations that can come into play in resolving spousal support matters. For example, you may want to know how to petition to modify an alimony award, how to get alimony before the divorce is final, what tax consequences each spouse should expect, and so on. If you need assistance regarding any of these questions in the Atlanta area, it may be worth taking the time to contact the experienced family law lawyers at the Law Offices of Thomas C. Rowsey. You can reach us by phone at (770) 993-5317, or you can use our online form to set up a free initial consultation.