In the context of divorce, the terms “alimony” and “child support” are often tossed around in conversation. These concepts are similar in that they are both forms of financial support. They are different in their purpose and function.
Alimony is an award from the estate of one party to the estate of the other party to support the other spouse after a separation or divorce. Child support is more of an obligation of the noncustodial parent to support his or her child. If one spouse was reliant financially upon the other spouse, that spouse may have a legitmate claim to alimony. Child support will be awarded to the custodial parent in almost every divorce suit involving minor children. The award is not contingent upon the need of financial support for the spouse, but rather upon the obligation for parents to support their children.
Alimony may be awarded as temporary support or permanent. In determining whether an award of alimony is appropriate, the court will weigh several factors. The court has significant discretion in determining an alimony award. Under Georgia law, courts will consider a laundry list of factors, including, the duration of the marriage, the ages of the spouses, the education levels, and other relevant factors. It is therefore important to have an experienced family law attorney to argue on your behalf if you are in need of an alimony award or if you are facing a potential order to pay alimony.
Child support in Georgia is calculated using child support tables and the parents’ respective incomes. There are several factors the court considers in deviating from the child support tables. A knowledgeable Georgia family law attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds to deviate from the child support tables on a child support obligation. If you are facing a child custody dispute, you should speak with a Georgia family law attorney to determine what your rights concerning child support before you make any agreements as to an amount to receive or to pay for child support.