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When Can Alimony Be Modified or Terminated?

Depending on a number of circumstances a Court may order a spouse to make either permanent or temporary payments to the other spouse at the conclusion of the divorce proceedings. This is known as alimony and is a court ordered financial obligation that must be paid or the non-complying party may be subject to a contempt action. Some of the factors that determine the amount and whether alimony will be awarded are:

  • the couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • the length of the marriage
  • the age and health of each spouse
  • the financial resources of each spouse
  • length of time needed to obtain education or training
  • each spouse’s contribution to the marriage

There are instances that can cause modifications of alimony or termination all together. For instance, remarriage of the receiving spouse will terminate the alimony obligation. Depending on the terms of the divorce decree, once the remarriage occurs the paying party can simply cease making payments. However, if there is any uncertainty you should seek advice from your divorce attorney and or have them obtain a final order from the Court.

A significant change in financial circumstances can also be grounds for a modification of the divorce decree. For instance, if the paying party has a decrease in income or the receiving party has an increase the Court may consider the new event as grounds for modification. This will require a hearing unless the parties can reach an agreement. Cohabitation, (i.e., dwelling together continuously and openly in a relationship) can also be considered by the Court as grounds for a modification. In this instance the Court will determine whether the supported spouse has an improved financial situation as a result of the cohabitation. O.C.G.A §19-6-19 provides that the moving party has to prove cohabitation and may be liable for attorney’s fees if unsuccessful.

The Faucette Law Firm represents clients in divorcecustody, spousal support, modifications and adoption related matters. We service the Douglasville, Marietta and Atlanta areas. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.