What Is Palimony? (Palimony Definition)

What Is Palimony - Palimony Definition - Palimony vs Alimony - Marvin v Marvin - California Palimony Laws - Palimony In Ohio - Texas Palimony

Palimony Definition

Palimony is a court-ordered allowance paid by one member of an unmarried couple formerly living together.

What Is Palimony?

Palimony is alimony for unmarried, cohabitating couples

Palimony happens on the termination of a live-in relationship for an unmarried couple. 

Palimony usually gets granted in common law states.

Many states still recognize common law marriage

Common-law marriage means that a couple is legally considered married. 

Even though did not formally have a marriage. 

When a married couple gets divorced, they have certain property rights. 

One of those rights being alimony. 

In common law states, qualifying unmarried couples have rights to palimony

But in states that don’t recognize common-law, you need a contractual agreement. 

These are commonly called cohabitation agreements. 

And they spell out “what is palimony” for your relationship. 

Palimony in a cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract. 

And it holds up in court. 

Marvin v Marvin

Palimony was created as a result of the Marvin v Marvin case

In this case, Lee Marvin lived with Michele Triola for numerous years. 

Triola gave up her career to take care of Marvin. 

In return, Marvin financially supported Triola. 

When they split up, Triola sued for palimony. 

But Triola could not prove that there was a financial agreement between them. 

The court did not grant her palimony in this case. 

They granted her the ability to “take from the relationship what she brought to it.”

But this caused California law to recognize non-marital relationship contracts. 

These can be expressed, implied, oral, or written agreements

The only requirement is that they must be provable in court. 

How To Get Palimony

Unlike alimony, palimony is not guaranteed to unmarried partners. 

There must be a clear agreement between the partners

This palimony agreement can be written or oral

And they outline the extent of financial sharing and support for palimony. 

Palimony cases are not handled in family court like alimony cases are. 

They get handled in civil courts as a contractual dispute

Let’s talk about how to get palimony BEFORE the breakup:

  • get your palimony agreement
  • fill out the palimony agreement with your significant other
  • have the palimony agreement notarized by a family law attorney
  • file the palimony agreement at your local County Clerk’s office

You should notarize and file your palimony agreement with the Clerk’s office. 

This is the safest route to take. 

It eliminates any disputes that could happen down the road. 

But what if you’re trying to figure out how to get palimony AFTER the breakup?

  • file a petition for palimony in a civil or family court
  • hire a divorce lawyer (yes, even though you’re not filing for divorce)
  • gather evidence to prove that there was a contractual agreement
  • gather evidence to prove that the relationship was substantial
  • file this evidence with the petition for palimony
  • show up to court
  • receive the ruling

It’s important to note that fighting for palimony is a lawsuit

You need to be able to prove that your ex breached the contractual agreement. 

You need to prove that the agreement was breached by not providing financial support. 

There are a couple of outcomes that can happen:

  • the judge does not award palimony
  • the judge orders a lump sum payment of palimony
  • the judge orders recurring monthly payments
  • palimony cases are litigations lawsuits
  • prove that there was a contractual agreement. (petition is called a breach of contract??)
  • prove that the relationship is substantial – not ‘i gave you sex for support.’
  • prove that they breached this agreement by not providing financial support
  • show up to court
  • there will either be a settlement or a court order for palimony (if won)

Palimony For A Putative Spouse

You may be eligible for palimony if you assumed you were a putative spouse. 

Putative means that you assumed that you were a spouse. 

You can’t just show up in court and tell the judge you thought you were a spouse. 

To get palimony, the mistaken belief has to be reasonable and in good faith

How could you mistakenly believe that you were a spouse? 

Some examples are that:

  • the marital paperwork was misfiled and legally you aren’t married
  • there was marital fraud and you legally aren’t married

You must be able to prove that you honestly believed that you were married. 

When this gets proven, palimony can get granted. 

This can be true even in states that don’t recognize palimony. 

Palimony For A Contractual Relationship

A contractual relationship is when you and your partner sign a palimony agreement. 

This palimony agreement can include how to handle money and property in a breakup. 

A palimony agreement can be written, oral, or implied. 

But you have to prove that there was a palimony agreement. 

This is why a written and notarized agreement is the strongest one. 

Proof of a contractual relationship can include things like:

  • co-mingling your assets
  • sharing income (joint accounts)
  • sharing property
  • co-signing major purchases
  • sharing credit cards
  • naming a partner as a beneficiary

Palimony vs Alimony

What’s the difference between palimony vs alimony?

Alimony is a court-ordered spousal support a spouse has to pay after divorce. 

Palimony is alimony for unmarried, cohabitating couples who break up. 

Alimony and palimony are the same things. 

The both are court-ordered payments. 

They can either be lump-sum payments or recurring, monthly payments. 

The only differences between palimony vs alimony are that:

  • alimony gets awarded to divorcing married couples
  • palimony gets awarded to unmarried, cohabitating couples breaking up

What Is Palimony Per State?

Let’s talk about what is palimony in each of the major states. 

This will cover the palimony laws and how to get palimony. 

California Palimony Laws

California palimony laws do recognize palimony. 

California does not recognize common law marriage, though.

For California palimony laws, the couple has to have a legally binding contract. 

And since the couple was not married, palimony is not a family court matter. 

Palimony in California gets resolved in civil courts. 

California palimony laws see palimony as a contract claim between a couple. 

Meaning that California palimony laws see palimony as a lawsuit. 

This lawsuit determines how to split property and finances. 

Palimony In Ohio

Palimony in Ohio is not recognized by the courts. 

Meaning that palimony in Ohio will not get awarded. 

But the courts do recognize contractual agreements between partners. 

So, if you have a cohabitation agreement, they will honor it. 

You can have a palimony agreement in your cohabitation agreement. 

And the courts will honor that palimony in Ohio. 

But, if you don’t have a written contract, you can’t get palimony in Ohio.  

Texas Palimony

There is no palimony in Texas. 

Texas palimony will only get awarded if there was a:

  • common-law marriage, or;
  • contractual agreement between the partners

For common-law marriage, palimony is technically alimony. 

This is because the couple is married by law. 

But without common-law marriage, there has to be a contract to get Texas palimony. 

You and your partner will need to present the courts with your cohabitation agreement. 

If palimony is included in this agreement, the courts will honor it. 

And you can get Texas palimony. 

Palimony In Michigan

You cannot get palimony in Michigan. 

And there is no common-law marriage in Michigan. 

The only way to get palimony in Michigan is to have a cohabitation agreement. 

A cohabitation agreement can outline palimony in Michigan. 

And the courts will honor it. 

Palimony In Maryland

Palimony in Maryland is not recognized and does not get awarded. 

There are palimony-type payments that can get awarded. 

In Maryland, damages can get awarded to a pregnant woman if she was promised marriage. 

This is in the form of a lump sum payment of damages. 

And not in the form of palimony in Maryland. 

Maryland will also divide property per cohabitation agreements. 

But they won’t award palimony in Maryland. 

Palimony In Virginia

You cannot get palimony in Virginia. 

And there is no common-law marriage in Virginia. 

The only way to get palimony in Virginia is to have a cohabitation agreement. 

A cohabitation agreement can outline palimony in Virginia. 

And the courts will honor it. 

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