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Georgia Alimony Case Hits Supreme Court

It’s not unusual for cases involving unpaid alimony to show up on a court docket.  But it is unusual when that alimony has been accumulating unpaid for over 30 years.  A case involving that set of facts is now before the Georgia Supreme Court.


The couple was divorced in 1968 after ten years of marriage.  The husband agreed to pay the wife $50 per month in alimony, in addition to house payments and child support, as long as she didn’t remarry.  She pursued her ex for payment for years including letters to him and to state agencies trying to collect child support.   When the youngest child turned 21, she finally gave up.


The wife thought that her ex-husband had left the state, but when she found that he was back, she filed suit for 32 years of alimony totaling over $40,000.  The ex was sent notice of the hearing but didn’t show up for court.  The judge ordered payment of about $14,000 in back alimony, interest and attorney’s fees.  He was also ordered to jail until he pays the amount awarded.

On appeal, the ex-husband’s attorney argued that the man didn’t remember getting the summons and that court clerks couldn’t keep records straight for a case that old.  He suggested that the case should be dormant after so many years.  The Supreme Court responded that the man could have appeared in court and made those arguments.  The Court did, however, allow the man to remain free pending their decision.


The ex-husband may have believed that he would have been able to avoid paying the debt that he agreed to 45 years ago.  The Georgia Supreme Court’s decision in this case may set a new standard for whether “never say never” is the limitation for recovering alimony in the state. 



About the author: Attorney PJ Campanaro Law Office handles child custody and divorce cases in the Augusta area. She is an Evans GA divorce lawyer that represent clients in state court.