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When can you stop paying spousal support?

Not every Georgia divorce will involve a spousal support order. Family courts only establish these orders if divorcing couples have very different financial resources that would impact their accustomed standard of living. They are only necessary to maintain each spouse’s financial stability after the divorce.

In most cases, individuals ordered to pay spousal support will send a large percentage of their monthly income to their ex-spouse after the divorce. The day that they will be able to stop making those payments could be far in the future, depending on the court order.

However, there are a few situations that could either end spousal support payments entirely or at least change the agreement significantly.

Remarrying automatically stops spousal support

In Georgia, spousal support payments stop the moment an individual receiving those payments remarries. The spouse paying support does not even need a modified court order to stop making payments. Often, spousal support is meant to maintain the receiving spouse’s financial needs that they had during the marriage. So, if they remarry, then the court automatically assumes that those needs are met again.

While it is not common, some spousal support agreements might include a provision that allows support payments to continue even after another marriage. However, not many Georgia family courts approve these kinds of provisions.

There are other times when spousal support can change as well

Paying spousal support can be a financial strain. And many paying spouses protest the need for permanent spousal support orders, especially once the ex-spouse gets back on their feet after the divorce.

However, even an order for permanent spousal support does not mean that they have to pay support until their ex-spouse remarries or until they reach that far-off date in the future. Life changes and Georgia law allows court orders to change with it.

Individuals paying spousal support can petition to change or end alimony payments for several reasons, including:

  • The receiving spouse now has more income than before or perhaps more than the paying spouse
  • The paying spouse loses their job, or their income significantly decreases
  • The paying spouse can no longer work due to an injury or illness
  • The receiving spouse now lives with a new partner

Individuals have a right to pursue a spousal support modification and lessen their financial stress when their circumstances—or their ex-spouse’s circumstances—change significantly.