Category Archives: Alimony

Alimony Award After Pension Matures

Alimony Award After Pension MaturesAlimony Award After Pension MaturesIn this divorce action, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the judgment.  The parties settlement agreement awarded the Wife alimony in the amount of $1,250 per month, once her husband’s pension matures.  She complained that the Court made an error when it failed to utilize the time rule formula in determining the parties’ interest in the pension.  However the Court found that the Wife induced the alleged error in urging the trial court to evaluate and distribute the pension as alimony.

The Wife also complained that the Court made an error when it evaluated the alimony payment based on the assumption that the husband ceased participation in the pension plan beginning on August 31, 2009.  However, since the parties introduced evidence evaluating the pension as of that date and neither party took steps to obtain and present updated pension values as of the hearing date the court did not find an error.

Next, the Court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the parties’ marital assets; and the trial court did not err in ruling that the Wife would be entitled to claim at least one-half of the mortgage interest deduction in any calendar year, after awarding her the marital residence.

Finally, the Georgia Supreme Court found the trial court did not abuse its discretion in requiring Hammond to indemnify her husband and hold him harmless for the debts, which the trial court ordered her to pay, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding Hammond $4,074 in attorneys’ fees.

Alimony Award After Pension Matures – For more information abut his case see Hammond v. Hammond, S11F1978, (02/06/12)

Alimony Award After Pension Matures – If you have questions about an uncontested divorce and/or creating an Alimony award that is in compliance with Georgia law – Contact the Remboldt Law Firm at 404-348-4081 for a FREE phone consultation.

If you are considering an uncontested divorce, you may find the UNCONTESTED DIVORCE WORKSHEET helpful in moving forward with an uncontested divorce.

 

Affirmation of Lump Sum Alimony

 Affirmation of Lump Sum Alimony. Do you know the difference between periodic alimony and lump sum alimony?

Here’s a good case that illustrates the issues and was affirmed by the Georgia Supreme Court.  The parties were married on April 3, 1993 and divorced on June 1, 2010.  The Final Decree incorporated a Settlement Agreement that the parties had entered into, which stated that “Husband will pay to wife monthly alimony of $2,000.00 per month for 120 consecutive months beginning April 1, 2010.”  Wife remarried on June 12, 2011 and Husband stopped paying alimony on July 1, 2011. Wife filed a contempt action and Husband denied that his obligation was for lump sum alimony. The trial court ruled in his favor, finding that Husband’s obligation was for permanent periodic alimony that terminated upon Wife’s remarriage.

The Georgia Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision. As this Court has made clear, where ‘the alimony provision set forth in the trial court’s order states the exact amount of each payment and the exact number of payments without limitations, conditions or statements of intent, the obligation is one for lump sum alimony payable in installments, rather than permanent alimony?

Affirmation of Lump Sum Alimony.  For more information about this particular case see:  Hardigree v. Smith, 291 Ga. 239 (June 18, 2012)

If you have questions about a Lump Sum Alimony or Periodic Alimony agreement mistake or if you considering filing a divorce, please contact the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC at 404-348-4081 for a free phone consultation.

Trial Court Cannot Retroactively Modify Alimony

images2Trial Court Cannot Retroactively Modify Alimony.  In this case there was a cross contempt’s filed, Husband’s failure to pay alimony and Wife’s failure to pay the mortgage on the residence. Court reduced Husband’s periodic alimony obligation that was past due to zero-essentially “forgiving” all past due alimony. “Retroactive modification of an alimony obligation would vitiate the finality of the judgment obtained as to each past due installment … a judgment modifying an alimony obligation is effective no earlier than the date of the judgment.”

Trial Court Cannot Retroactively Modify Alimony. For more information about this particular subject see Branham v. Branham, 290 Ga. 349 (2012).

If you have questions about if the trial court can retroactively modify alimony, a divorce settlement agreement or if you considering filing a divorce, please contact the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC at 404-348-4081 for a free phone consultation.

Attorney’s Fees Reduced from Alimony Payment

shutterstock_282421103Attorney’s Fees Reduced from Alimony Payment.  On Cross-Contempts Court Impermissibly Orders Payment Of Awarded Attorney’s Fees Reduced from Alimony Payment

Here are the facts of the case.  The Husband was awarded attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation (including costs associated with testimony of co-parenting counselor).  The Court impermissibly allowed the Husband to reduce his alimony payments by a specified monthly amount until the attorney’s fees and expenses were paid in full. However, the court of appeals held that this was not allowed.  The Court found that “after decree of alimony has become absolute, there is no authority given under the law by which a trial court may abrogate or modify the obligation imposed by the decree, unless such a right has been reserved by consent of the parties in the final decree itself, or an action is brought as provided under [statutory law].”  Therefore the Husband should not have been able to reduce his alimony payments by any amount until the attorney’s fees and expenses had been paid.

For more information about attorney’s fees reduced from alimony payment see the Georgia case Bowerman v. Bowerman, 314 Ga. App. 487 (March 1, 2012).

If you have questions about a attorney’s fees reduced from alimony payment or if you are considering filing a divorce or have questions about your divorce matter, please contact the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC at 404-348-4081 for a free phone consultation.

Contempt attorney fees and expenses for family therapist.

Divorce TopicsContempt Attorney Fees and Expenses for Family Therapist: In this contempt action following entry of Dr. Scott Bowerman and Melissa Bowerman’s divorce and custody decree and subsequent related orders, the Court of Appeals reversed the grant of $5.8K in attorneys’ fees and expenses to Dr. Bowerman and the award of $3.4K in reimbursement for Dr. Bowerman’s payments to Susan Boyan, a licensed marriage and family therapist, holding that the trial court grievously erred in making such an award, since it ordered that Dr. Bowerman ‘ “[m]ay deduct the total amount, $9,200.00 from the payment of periodic alimony [$10,000 per month] at the rate of $1,500.00 per month,” ’ since, ‘ “after a decree for permanent alimony has become absolute, there is no authority given under the law by which a trial court is empowered to abrogate or modify the obligation imposed by the decree, unless such a right has been reserved by consent of the parties in the final decree itself, or an action is brought as provided under” ’ OCGA § § 19-6-18 through 19-6-25.

However, the Court rejected Melissa Bowerman’s contention that the trial court erred in finding her in contempt ‘ “by failing to articulate which specific provision of any prior order” ’ she had violated, since the trial court’s various orders incorporated the terms of the parties’ agreements, which included very specific, all-encompassing requirements, including express language of commands directed at both parties. The Court also held that the lack of a transcript prevented the trial court from reviewing Melissa Bowerman’s second and sixth enumerations of error and prevented Melissa Bowerman from showing harm from any alleged error in the trial court’s modification of summer visitation. Next, the record belied Melissa Bowerman’s contention that the trial court made any modification to the order granting equal rights to the parties, unless they are unable to agree regarding healthcare. Finally, the trial court’s order requiring Dr. Bowerman and his daughter to enter into counseling did not alter legal custody, and the Court declined to consider the daughter’s affidavit, since she did not testify at the contempt hearing, denying her father the right to cross-examine her.

For more information about the facts of this case, see:  Bowerman v. Bowerman, A11A1895 (03/01/12)

Fulton County Daily Report, March 16, 2012

If you have questions about a divorce settlement agreement, contempt, or if you considering filing a divorce, please contact the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC at 404-348-4081 for a free phone consultation.

GA Supreme Court partially reversed the order retroactively extinguishing alimony obligation.

The Supreme Court partially reversed the order retroactively extinguishing William Branham’s alimony obligation to his former wife Jenny Nicholson f/k/a Branham, holding that the trial court’s order vitiated the finality of the judgment obtained as to each past due installment and was therefore clearly contrary to the rule set forth in Hendrix v. Stone, 261 Ga. 874 (1992). However, the Court affirmed that portion of the order providing that each party would be responsible for his or her own attorneys’ fees, holding that Nicholson waived her right to challenge the order under O.C.G.A. § 19-6-19 (b), where she acquiesced in the trial court’s ruling, never requested attorneys’ fees and failed to provide any evidence supporting a claim for attorneys’ fees.

Branham v. Branham, S11A1896 (01/09/12)

Fulton County Daily Report, January 13, 2012

GA trial court did not err by ordering alimony for wife because wife is disabled and husband’s income is sufficient to pay.

Final judgment of divorce, affirmed; trial court did not err by ordering alimony for wife because wife is disabled and husband’s income is sufficient to pay for wife’s health insurance for two years and car payments for one year; evidence supported trial court’s division of marital property; contrary to husband’s contention, trial court did not hold him in contempt of temporary order, because trial court specifically found that his disobedience of temporary order was not willful.

McDonald v. McDonald, S11F0112 (06/13/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, June 24, 2011

GA order on petition for contempt in divorce case, PARTIALLY REVERSED, since trial court ERRED in ruling that husband was not obligated to pay termporary alimony payments that were payable prior to entry of remittitur in this case.

Order on petition for contempt in divorce case, PARTIALLY REVERSED, since trial court ERRED  in ruling that husband was not obligated to pay termporary alimony payments that were payable prior to entry of remittitur in this case; temporary award continues in effect until entry of remittitur in trial court and, from that date on, any permanent award in final judgment takes effect; trial court did NOT ERR in in holding that temporary child support remained in effect until remittitur was entered;  husband was not in contempt for failing to make July and August, 2009 child suppport payments, since he tried to mail July check, but wife failed to sign for it, and he brought August check to August hearing; husband was not in contempt for failing to remove wife’s name from mortgage as he was unable to refinance property and demonstrated need for adidtional time to do so; husband was in contempt for failing to maintain life insurance paolicy in amount of $3M naming wife as successor trustee, despite any tax purposes for doing otherwise, as divorce decree expressly stated that he would do so; inlight of husband’s contempt, case remanded for determination of wife’s motion for attorney’s fees.

Robinson v. Robinson, S10A0929 (10/04/10), 10 FCDR 3170

From:  Fulton County Daily Report, 10/15/2010.

GA judgment refusing to modify downward husband’s alimony payments to his former wife, REVERSED.

Judgment refusing to modify downward husband’s alimony payments to his former wife, REVERSED; trial court erred in determining that language of parties’ settlement agreement established obligation for payment of lump sum alimony rather than periodic alimony, since provision provided that wife’s death would end husband’s alimony obligation for 180 payments in certain specific amounts; amount of husbands total alimony obligation was made uncertain because of contingency regarding wife’s survival; portion of trial court’s judgment finding lump sum alimony obligation and consequent ruling on merits of husband’s petition for alimony modificaiton REVERSED and case remanded for trial court’s consideration.

SHEPHERD V. COLLINS, s07a1658 (02/11/08), 08 FCDR 414

Fulton County Daily Report, 02/22/2008.

GA husband’s age and health condition did not adversely affect his ability to pay child support.

Judgment entered in parties’ divorce action, AFFIRMED; evidence supported trial court’s conclusion that husband’s income was at least $65K per year, that alimony award was proper and that husband’s age and health condition did not adversely affect his ability to pay child support; evidence that husband incurred $27K tax debt on his own supported trial court’s decision to require him to pay debt.

Vereen v. Vereen, S08F0736 (11/17/08), 08 FCDR 3664

Fulton County Daily Report, 12/08/2008