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Man 32 years in arrears on alimony; case before state Supreme Court

A case involving a judicial spousal support order following a Georgia divorce decades ago was recently before the state's Supreme Court, with justices expected to make a final ruling on the matter sometime this summer.

The litigants were married more than 50 years ago, in 1958, and divorced 10 years later. Their divorce decree, signed in 1968, stipulated that the ex-husband would pay permanent alimony to his former wife -- $50 each month, together with house mortgage payments and child support. The couple agreed that the payments would continue unabated unless the woman remarried.

She didn't, and that fact, coupled with her former mate's lack of compliance with the order for more than 30 years, has brought the matter before the Court.

The woman thought her ex had left the state in the 1980s and, when the couple's youngest child turned 21, she stopped looking for him. When she found out recently that he was in fact residing in Georgia, she sought an order from a Fulton County judge demanding retroactive payments, plus interest, going back 32 years.

The judge ordered the man, now 79 years old, to appear in court, but he didn't show up. That didn't sit well with the judge, who awarded the ex-wife a decade's worth of alimony payments and ordered that the man be jailed until he paid in full (the judge later rescinded that order).

The matter eventually made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court and, as stated, is pending.

Alimony awards in Georgia can be highly subjective, depending on a number of factors. An experienced alimony attorney can help a party on either side of the matter present a strong case to a court.

Source: Rome News-Tribune, "Ex-husband asks to avoid jail for 32 years of unpaid alimony," Walter C. Jones, April 16, 2013

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