Palimony is more or less like alimony, but there is one major difference. While alimony is paid to a former spouse, palimony is paid by one member of an unmarried couple to the other if their relationship breaks down. As with alimony, not everyone is entitled to palimony in case their relationship breaks down.
When You May Get Palimony
There are three main circumstances that may see you enjoy palimony if you separate from your partner. You may get palimony if:
You Have Been Cohabiting for a Long Time
If you have been living together or you have been in a relationship for a long time, then the court may be of the view that there was an implied consent of sharing property. The court may also believe that there was an implied agreement that one of you will support the other in case the relationship breaks down after some time. This is particularly true if you have not been secretive with your relationship, you have kids together, and most of your acquaintances know you as a couple.
You Have an Express Agreement to the Effect
Some people decide to make formal agreements when cohabiting or getting into serious relationships with others. Such agreements may even contain the issue of spousal support or asset division in case the relationship breaks down. If you have such an agreement, then the court may force it as long as you both made the agreement willingly. Some jurisdictions will enforce both oral and written agreements as long as there is proof of the former.
You Believed You Were Married
Finally, you may also be able to enjoy palimony if you thought you were married but then realize that you aren't actually married. This may be the case, for example, if it turns out there is a legal technicality that means your marriage isn't valid; maybe you didn't submit a document you were supposed to submit or something like that.
Further Factors to Be Considered
Just because the above factors apply to your case, it doesn't mean that you will automatically get palimony. There are other factors the court may evaluate, such as:
- The length of your relationship – the longer you have been in the relationship the more you are likely to get palimony
- Whether you share bank accounts of property
- Whether you have been both behaving like a couple
As you can see, the circumstances of your relationship will determine whether you can get palimony or not. Consult a family lawyer, such as Marlene Dancer Adams, for clarity if your relationship has broken down and you are struggling with palimony issues.