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Double Counting Alimony

Calculating alimony in a Georgia divorce case is often a complex endeavor that involves calculations of each parties’ future earnings or potential incomes, as well as taking into account the parties’ marital history and current circumstances. The issue of alimony becomes even more complicated when you have a self-employed spouse, the division of a family business, or a high-asset spouse whose compensation package includes stock options and other potential benefits.

One of the most common issues that arises in such a case is double-counting a spouse’s income so that it results in a higher alimony award. This is a common practice that can cause an alimony order to be grossly inflated. For the spouse who is ordered to pay alimony, this can be a financially devastating result of divorce.


This situation occurs when a valuation of the spouse’s business is based, at least in part, on future earnings for the purposes of property division. Once that value is determined, the attorney for the spouse seeking to receive alimony will use that valuation, or that spouse’s projected future income, in order to justify a higher alimony award. The goal in these cases, then, at least from the paying spouse’s perspective, is to minimize the emphasis on his or her future earnings, at least for the purposes of calculating alimony.

In these types of cases, a high degree of specialization and experience in dealing with the division of businesses and alimony awards, particularly in high-asset situations, is absolutely necessary for both spouses. The reality is that many attorneys simply don’t have the knowledge or expertise to adequately represent clients in this kind of case.

An Atlanta divorce lawyer at Shaw Law Firm LLC can help advise you about the valuation of businesses and future earnings, as well as the potential for an alimony award in your case. Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.

Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.