Palimony - When Is It Awarded?

Palimony is compensation made by one partner in a non-married, cohabitating relationship to the other partner who needs financial support when the relationship breaks apart.

Cohabitation of Partners

Whether the cohabitation is with an opposite-sex or same-sex couple, the situation generally lends to a romantic relationship between the two individuals. While they may not come together legally and enter into a marriage, the cohabitation usually provides both parties with the necessary financial assistance to pay bills and increase the quality of life. If the two are unable to resolve conflict and decide to separate, it is important that the one person that has less income receives support if possible. This is where palimony enters the picture for the couple. This is similar to alimony, but there is no marriage that legally binds the two parties together.

Requesting Palimony

the partner is unable to make it financially, he or she may request monthly or a lump sum payment through a settlement. However, it is important to determine if the state provides this option for the legal breakup. The states that do permit the palimony settlement require the couple to have a complex relationship that is greater just including sexual relations. Additionally, the agreement to provide payment to the other party temporarily proceeds through an oral or written agreement between the couple. It is important to contact a lawyer to determine the viability of palimony in the state in which the couple resides.

States without Palimony

When seeking to acquire monetary support when the couple never married, it is crucial to understand if the state even recognized or has the ability to grant palimony through the courts. Otherwise, the couple would need to have an agreement between the two parties. Palimony is not recognized or in use in Alabama, Connecticut, Arkansas, Georgia, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, West Virginia and Tennessee. The remaining states in the country do have some form of palimony available for cohabitating couples.

Why Seek Palimony?

When living with another person, the female may have a child and need to stay home and take care of him or her. Other situations arise where one person takes care of the other while going to school or attempting to get a job over the course of months or years. The individual may provide various forms of assistance, and palimony may help him or her through the separation until a new job or employment is even possible. Seeking palimony may occur initially by an agreement between the couple that could lead to the courts to finalize an order as a legally binding obligation.

Palimony and Common Law

The situations where palimony is available usually only exist in circumstances of common law cohabitation with romantic partners. This may include same-sex relationships in the states that involve common law and gay or lesbian couples. The partners will have an oral or written contract that applies for possible future compensation if they split. This would provide the means to find a new job or a career if the relationship falls apart before the action is possible. If the state does not provide palimony, the couple may come to another arrangement or work through the matter peacefully and ensure that the person receives help when the two no longer live together.

Palimony Factors

When the court becomes involved in the monetary matters after the relationship dissolves, there are certain factors the court will apply. The length of the relationship between the couple is significant. The longer this is, the more likely palimony is available. Written agreements hold weight in the courts. Agreements or oral promises generally must have evidence of existence and substantiated or corroborated proof. Implied understandings may help for some breakups with the judge. The ability to support his or her situation may decrease the likelihood of support payments. Sacrifices of one partner such as a lack of work to help the other with children or find a career may increase the chances of success.

Legal Support with Palimony Awards

In the states that do have palimony, the individual that needs monetary support may need to hire a lawyer to make the case in the court. Any supporting evidence may increase the chances of informing the judge of a previously implied or written agreement.

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case.

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