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What Is Palimony?

It is defined as a form of alimony due to a person who was part of a non-married relationship. The term describes the support that one partner may request from the other when the relationship between them ends.

In the past few decades, an increasing number of people have decided to live together without being married. These unmarried couples typically do not have the same rights and protections that married couples have. Following this trend, many courts have started to recognize in certain situations that an unmarried person may have a right to get financial support from a former partner after their relationship ends.

How Does One Get Palimony?

Past decisions have generally held that: 

  • One of the partners has made a promise of support to the other for life
  • The couple has lived for a long time (usually greater than 10 years)
  • As a condition of receiving support the couple lives in a marriage-type setting
  • One partner’s primary objective with living with the other is the promise of lifetime financial support

What Are Some of the Differences between Alimony and Palimony?

Despite the law of some states allowing one partner to give financial support to the other when the relationship ends, there are some fundamental differences between them as well. Some differences between the two are: 

  • That in palimony cases, the amount of money due to one partner is based on breaching a promise or contract made between the partners
  • That in palimony cases, a partner can only be awarded money, not property
  • That palimony is ordered as a lump sum payment, while alimony is usually awarded as continual, periodic payments

When Can I File a Lawsuit?

There are no specific guidelines by which a lawsuit should be filed, but a complaint should generally have: 

  • Evidence showing a promise or contract for lifetime financial support
  • Sufficient evidence to show that the couple has cohabited together for a long period of time
  • A description of what entailed the marriage-type relationship
  • Evidence showing that financial support was requested by one party

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Palimony Issue?

Whenever these issues are at stake, you should consult with a lawyer. An experienced family law attorney will inform you of your rights and help to achieve available legal remedies.

Photo of page author Peter Clarke

, LegalMatch Content Manager

Last Modified: 11-30-2016 06:20 PM PST

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