Alimony is not mandatory in Georgia, but either spouse may receive it if a judge believes the absence of it will clearly impose unreasonable financial restrictions on the requesting spouse’s post-divorce life. Like child support payments, alimony orders are binding, but judges will consider an alimony modification in Georgia if the spouse seeking the modification can provide strong evidence that justifies the petition.
The spouse seeking the modification must prove one of the following to be eligible to file for an alimony modification.
If the Alimony Recipient Is Cohabitating With a Partner
A paying spouse may be able to modify alimony payments if he can prove that his ex-spouse has moved in with another person with whom she is having a romantic relationship, according to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-19.
It is important to note that the relationship must be romantic. If the recipient lives with a member of the opposite sex in a non-intimate setting — such as with a roommate where each person in the home or apartment maintains his or her own room/sleeping quarters — the paying spouse must provide clear and convincing proof that the receiving spouse is engaging in a “continuous” sexual relationship with the roommate before the court will consider a modification request.
Conversely, if the ex is having a relationship with someone but lives separately, the motion to modify has no grounds, even if that relationship is “periodically” intimate.
And remember, the stronger and more compelling the proof, the better. You cannot just make a claim that you believe that the recipient is cohabiting. If you do so, the courts may decide against granting later petitions for modification.
Changes in Financial Status of Either Ex-Spouse
If there is a substantial change in the financial status of either spouse, the alimony agreement may be subject to modification, according to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-18.
Either the paying or receiving spouse can submit motions for alimony modification in Georgia on these grounds.
You can only apply for a modification of alimony once every two years. The courts are unable to grant a modification if they considered modification in the last two years.
Is Alimony Always Subject to Modification in Gwinnett County?
Under Georgia law, most alimony is subject to modification unless you received a lump sum or receive “in-kind” alimony payments. In-kind alimony payments are not modifiable because they are direct from one spouse to the other (e.g., giving your spouse your car).
Depending on the specifics of your divorce decree, your alimony may be non-modifiable, especially if you and your ex-spouse agreed upon non-modifiable payments during negotiations.
Courts cannot modify the amount of time the supporting spouse must make payments, but the court can lower the payments as much as it sees fit, i.e., if the courts decides that the recipient spouse does not require support, it can lower the support payments to zero dollars.
How Do I Receive an Alimony Modification in Gwinnett County?
To request an alimony modification, you must file a petition for modification with the Gwinnett County Superior Court. You will most likely need to attach a financial affidavit or other form of proof supporting the request. The best way to get the alimony modification you desire is to run your case by an attorney.
To learn how your unique circumstances may affect your alimony payments, schedule a REAL Case Analysis with an alimony attorney from the Ward Law Firm.
Do not make a costly mistake and try to file your petition on your own. Call us at 770-383-1973 or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.