In Shepherd v. Collins, S07A1658, the Supreme Court of Georgia, in a unanimous opinion written by Justce Harris Hines, reversed the judgment of the Superior Court of Laurens County, refusing to modify downward David Shepherd’s alimony payments to his former wife, Tammie Collins. The Supreme Court held that the trial court erred in determining that the language of the parties’ settlement agreement established an obligation for the payment of lump sum alimony rather than periodic alimony, since a proviso provided that the wife’s death would end the husband’s alimony obligation for 180 payments in certain specific amounts. In so holding, the Court noted that the amount of the husband’s total alimony obligation was made uncertain because of the contingency regarding the wife’s survival. Thus, the Court reversed that portion of the trial court’s judgment finding a lump sum alimony obligation and the consequent ruling on the merits of the husband’s petition for alimony modification and remanded the case for the trial court’s consideration.

SOURCE: Fulton County Daily Report and Supreme Court of Georgia