Georgia alimony award upheld despite Husband's disability

The Georgia Supreme Court recently upheld an alimony award for a Wife, despite the fact that the Husband was disabled and unemployed. In that case, the Husband was held in contempt of the parties' divorce decree for failing to make alimony payments to the Wife. McDonald v. McDonald, S11F0112 (2011). Specifically, as alimony, the Husband was to keep the Wife on his health insurance for 24 months and make her car payment for 12 months. Id. at 3. The Husband appealed, arguing that "the trial court erred in awarding Wife alimony because she failed to show a need for alimony, he had no ability to pay alimony because he is disabled and unemployed, and Wife's alleged misconduct and the short duration of the marriage made alimony inappropriate." Id. at 3-4. The Supreme Court of Georgia disagreed with the Husband. The Court held that the trial court was authorized to make the alimony award because Wife's disability caused her to need the alimony, and Husband's disability income, future earnings, and property awarded in the divorce would enable him to satisfy the alimony award. Id. at 4. Thus, the "need for alimony" and "ability to pay alimony" requirements were satisfied. Though Husband's disability may make it more difficult for him, the Supreme Court of Georgia found that the evidence supported the award, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding alimony to the Wife. Id.

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