“Palimony” is an informal term used to describe a legal obligation of financial support sometimes imposed on one partner after a romantic (non-marriage) relationship breaks up.
It is similar to alimony, in which a former spouse is required to support the other spouse after a divorce.
While the practical effects of palimony and alimony are similar, the underlying legal theories are different. Palimony is treated as a kind of contract. This means that there must be a promise (express or implied) from one partner to support the other, while receiving something in return – usually companionship and domestic care.
Most states will only award palimony if both partners lived together. However, New Jersey is unique in that the partners do not need to live together for palimony to be awarded after the end of a romantic relationship.
The New Jersey rule is that cohabitation is but one factor that courts should consider in deciding to award palimony. As a practical matter, this distinction may not have a huge impact, since cohabitation is still the strongest factor courts consider. If the partners did not live together, it will weigh heavily against an award of palimony.
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