It is often the case that during the marriage one party was the sole provider or contributed more to the monthly income for the parties that the other. Sometimes that the other spouse does not have sufficient means of support on his or her own to wait until the divorce is finalized. Under these situations, there may be a solution through the court system.
Under Georgia law, a court may order one spouse to make alimony payments to the other spouse during the pendency of the divorce. These types of alimony payments are called temporary alimony or alimony pendent lite (pending the suit). As the name implies, this type of alimony is only awarded when the parties are separated and going through a divorce proceeding, but the divorce is not yet finalized. The purpose of temporary alimony is to allow a spouse who may be financially dependent on the other spouse the financial ability to not only pursue the divorce action to its completion, but to also pay for the expenses incident to the parties’ separation.
A party may still be awarded alimony after the divorce is finalized. This would be permanent alimony. Temporary alimony differs from permanent in that it is only awarded while the parties are separated and until the divorce decree is entered. On the other hand, permanent alimony is meant to satisfy the needs of the spouse after the divorce is finalized.
In order for temporary alimony to be awarded, the party requesting such need must first make a motion to the court requesting temporary relief. The court will then order that a hearing occur in which the parties will put forth evidence as to why temporary alimony should or should not be granted. In order for a party to establish a valid claim for temporary alimony, the requesting party must show the following:
- A valid marriage exists between the parties;
- The parties are currently living in a bona fide state of separation either voluntarily or as the result of misconduct on the part of one spouse sufficient to justify a divorce;
- The claim for temporary alimony is incidental to a pending action for divorce or suit for separate maintenance brought by either party;
- The husband and wife contest certain issues concerning the pending divorce.
If these requirements are met, the Court will then look to evidence concerning the requesting spouse’s needs and the ability of the other spouse to pay temporary alimony. Here, the Court will “consider the peculiar necessities created for each party by the pending litigation and any evidence of a separate estate owned by either party.”
If the judge decides to award alimony, the most common form is cash payments in order to pay for living expenses and the pending divorce. However, temporary alimony may also be awarded in the form of a requirement to pay certain debts of the recipient spouse, such as mortgage payments, rent, utility bills, and medical expenses.
If you are contemplating divorce and are hesitant because you are financially dependent on your spouse, please contact the attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Temporary alimony may be an option for you. If so, our attorneys will work to ensure that your needs are met and you are adequately represented.