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What is Palimony?

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What Is Palimony?

Palimony is a type of support award issued from one partner to another after their relationship has terminated. It is similar to alimony / spousal support, except that palimony is issued to couples who were not previously married. 

In the majority of legal cases where palimony is awarded, it is because the couple had a pre-determined agreement that one party would support the other or provide some sort of financial support. Cohabitation is sometimes, but not always, required in order to find an agreement

When Are Palimony Awards Issued?

As mentioned, palimony is mostly issued in cases where the couples have an existing support agreement or determination regarding their property that they need to have enforced. 

For example, the couple may have come up with a contract regarding a home they have purchased using funds from both partner’s accounts. When the couple separated, they may need to determine how the property should be split according to how much each contributed. Or, there may be outstanding debt on the property that must be addressed. A court may issue a palimony award in order to address these types of concerns. 

In cases where the palimony award is based on a contract, courts will typically consider all contract forms, whether they be implied, oral, or expressly written. 

Palimony can also be based on many other types of considerations, especially those having to do with children between the partners. Other factors like promissory estoppel or quantum merit can sometimes form the basis for a palimony award. These are highly technical legal issues that typically require the assistance of a lawyer.  

Can a Palimony Order Be Changed or Modified?

Palimony orders are usually final and are legally binding on the parties. Violating a palimony order can have legal consequences, such as a contempt order or other penalties.

However, it is sometimes possible to have a palimony order changed or modified at a later date. This may be necessary for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Newer circumstances have created additional needs for either of the parties
  • One of the parties is no longer seeking support from the other
  • The paying party is experiencing financial or other types of hardship

In order to change the palimony order, it will be necessary to file a request with the court that issued the original award. The court will then make a re-evaluation of the circumstances to make the appropriate adjustments to the award. In re-evaluating the award, the court can increase or decrease monthly payment amounts, change payment schedules, re-analyze property values, and any other adjustment it deems necessary.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Palimony Award?

Palimony awards are necessary in some situations, but they often involve many different types of legal issues. You should contact a qualified family lawyer in your area if you need help obtaining a palimony award. Your lawyer can help create, negotiate, and review the terms of the support payments. If you need to change, modify, or contest an exist agreement, your attorney can argue your position in front of a judge or mediator.  

Photo of page author Adam Vukovic

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 02-18-2015 02:11 PM PST

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