Georgia law permits alimony to be modified for two main reasons:
1. A significant change in income or financial status of either of the spouses
2. Upon petition of the obligated spouse when the former spouse and alimony recipient is voluntarily cohabiting – openly and continuously – with a third party in a sexual or romantic relationship.
Generally, a petition for modification of alimony must show the following in order to assert a valid claim:
1. That the final decree was previously entered awarding permanent alimony payable to or by the petitioner;
2. That the permanent alimony is payable in weekly, monthly, or some other periodic installment;
3. That one of the required changes in condition (listed above) has occurred;
4. That the alleged change in condition occurred between the date the decree was entered and the date the petition for modification is filed;
5. That the petition for modification is not being filed within a two year period from the date of a final order on a previous modification action filed by the same former spouse (does not apply to modifying the initial judgment).
Once the petition has been filed and the legal requirements have been fulfilled, the defendant in the modification action must be served with the original petition for modification along with a summons. Unlike other civil actions, default judgments in alimony modifications are not allowable under Georgia law.