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Alimony is an award of money for the support of one spouse that has become economically dependent on the other spouse during the term of the marriage. Either spouse can be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse (male or female) and the payments can be in the form of periodic payments or lump sum payments.

Whether or not alimony should be paid to one spouse by the other is often one of the more difficult issues to resolve in a divorce dispute. Often the question of whether to provide for alimony, how much to provide and for how long generates the most intense conflict during divorce negotiations. Also, because there are no real guidelines for judges to follow in awarding alimony, an attorney will have a difficult time giving clients any certainty on how much, if any alimony, would be awarded by a judge in any specific case.

That being said, there are a few general guidelines about alimony. Alimony awards are based upon the need of one spouse for financial support, and the ability of the other spouse to pay. Alimony is more likely to be an issue in a long term marriage where the earning capacity of one spouse is significantly lower than the earning capacity of the other.

Alimony awards are less likely in a short term marriage, or where both parties have relatively equal incomes and earning capacities. If alimony is awarded in the context of a short term or medium term marriage, it is more likely to be time limited.

Contact a Atlanta alimony lawyer at Peterson & Harris today to discuss your family law case.