Unfortunately, in a case where there’s equal custody, where both parents are splitting visitation equally, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no child support going back and forth. It depends on whether the parties make the same amount of money. If both parties have a salary of $50,000 and they split custody fifty-fifty, then yes, there would be no child support, because they are equally providing for the children. But if one party makes $100,000 and one party makes zero and they split fifty-fifty, well in that context, the party who makes $100,000 is still going to have to pay support to the other party, because of the difference in earning capacity.
Which Part Has To Generally Pay Spousal Support Or Alimony In a Divorce?
In a divorce case, you have to ask for alimony. The party who can ask for alimony is essentially the party who makes less money during the marriage. The typical example is you’ve got one party who is a doctor and makes all the money, and the other party is a stay-at-home parent. In that context, when they get divorced, it is very likely that the stay-at-home parent is going to receive alimony from their doctor because that party’s been responsible for earning the majority of the money. It is not mandatory that alimony be ordered. It is a completely discretionary factor for the court or a jury in a trial to make a determination. What you’re arguing is that the party has lesser earning capacity, and needs that level of support to maintain the lifestyle that they had while they were married. This is where the conduct of the parties during the marriage comes into play.
Even though they might have different earning capacity, it might be that the party who has less earning capacity has actually been directly irresponsible with money, and wasting it. In that context, the court may decide they are not worthy of alimony, because they’ve wasted the marital assets during the course of the marriage, and order no support. By the same token, they may agree that they have essentially sacrificed their career for the good of the marriage. Therefore, the other spouse’s bad conduct may result that they should provide support for this other party because they essentially behaved well during the marriage and tried to make the marriage survive, while the other party didn’t. It’s really a wide-open area to litigate, in terms of whether alimony should be awarded in a case, but it’s always the party of lesser earning capacity who has the ability to win alimony in a case.
How Is The Amount Of Spousal Support Calculated?
The amount of alimony to be awarded in a case is not set by any statute or law, and it is a wide-open area in terms of whatever the parties want to argue for. The party who is going to pay alimony has to have the ability to pay it, but you could argue for any number as long as it meets that requirement. As long as you have the ability to pay it, the court can order it. There is wide latitude for the parties involved, and it’s really in the discretion of the court. This is why you can see in celebrity cases, astronomical amounts of alimony being awarded. For a typical case, there is money provided to support the other party in terms of providing for a residence to live, providing for utilities to be paid, and providing for the necessities of life.
Courts can also order alimony almost as a punitive measure against one party if there’s been particularly egregious conduct during the marriage. There are different types of alimony where it can be temporary—the court may order alimony be made for just 12 months so that a spouse can kind of get back on their feet after a divorce. They may order temporary alimony for 3 or 4 years, basically to provide support until maybe the children have grown up and aged out of their relationship, to give the other party a time to go get some education and better their ability to earn money, or they can do it for the lifetime. In this case, it becomes a permanent alimony.
In those types of situations, you can go back, the party who’s required to pay the alimony can go back to the judge and ask for a modification of alimony and say the party no longer needs my support. They’ve got a boyfriend, they’ve got a new job, or they don’t have the same expenses that they once had when we first got divorced, and therefore I want my alimony lowered. By the same token, the other party can ask for an increase in alimony, saying that their ex-spouse has much greater earning capacity now as a result, and therefore I need more money going forward to support myself. It can be temporary or permanent, and the value can change during the course or after the divorce.
How Long Does Someone Have To Pay Alimony In a Divorce?
You can possibly get alimony for the remainder of your life. The things that stop alimony payments are the death of one of the parties, or if the party receiving alimony has remarried or under Georgia law, what they call is being involved in a meretricious relationship, which is a fancy way of saying they’re living with somebody else. If they get remarried, or the ex-spouse suddenly has a partner who moved in and that person is providing for them, and they no longer need that support to meet the kind of necessaries of life, then, in that case, alimony can be ended.
How Does The Commission Of Adultery Impact Alimony In A Divorce?
In Georgia, if the party who is seeking alimony is shown to have engaged in what they call that meretricious relationship, which is essentially a sexual relationship with someone who is not their spouse during the marriage, that can operate as an absolute bar to the receiving of alimony. That’s why you see on TV shows where they’re hiring private investigators to snoop around and take pictures and try to find whether their spouse, during the marriage, is cheating on them. It does have the ability if proven in court, that they are in fact barred to receive alimony.
While it is often the case where an adulterous relationship is suspected between text messages, Facebook posts, and credit card bills, it’s often difficult to prove that the actual sex act occurred, which is a necessary element for proving that one party can be denied alimony. That is one of the areas where you get into where you’re really looking at the conduct of the parties during the marriage. You don’t have to prove that adultery occurred to get the divorce, but if you want to stop a claim for alimony, you do have to prove the adultery occurred. It can really cut off the money in the case particularly of people who have significant means if you can make that proof. Many times they try to find out who the lover is, and take their depositions, but if both the lover and your soon-to-be ex-spouse deny it, it’s tough to prove.
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