Understanding Palimony

You’ve heard the word before; palimony and you know it isn’t just alimony with a P. Palimony accounts for many of the transactions that take place within a divorce and can be a series of directives that can change your life for the better after a divorce or make it most miserable. One of the most important aspects of palimony is the presence or absence of documentation with a marriage or live-in relationship.

What is Palimony

If you are wondering what palimony is, chances are you’ve never cohabitated with your lover for any length of time or if you have, perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to stay together or part amicably. Palimony is the court’s determination of how a couple’s financial belongings will be divided between them in terms of one partner owing the other continued financial support even though the relationship has ended.

Palimony, unlike alimony, can be paid in one lump sum rather than stretched out in monthly sums that last for months or even years. It can cover housing, money, clothing, cars, jewelry and any other property or material items of value that were shared during the relationship. The key is to ensure that legal agreements are reached before the relationship dissolves. Otherwise, the court is allowed to determine who gets what and it may or may not be in the favor of those who paid for them.

Influencing Factors

As in business relationships and other types of partnerships, it is true that verbal promises seldom hold up in court. This means that there some factors which can greatly influence the court’s determination whether or not palimony will be granted. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • When one partner gives up a career to stay home with children to support the other partner.
  • Any legal written financial agreements made and signed by both partners.
  • Substantiated spoken promises between both partners.
  • The implied understanding that one partner would provide financial support for the other partner for the rest of their life.
  • The length of the relationship.

Defining Relationships Up Front

When relationships started shifting towards cohabitation rather than marriage back in the 60s, it was cool to have a relationship based on love that didn’t need written agreements to define it. The time-tested results, however suggest something entirely different when it comes to palimony and the division of assets.

The best course of action to take before entering into a relationship that permits cohabitation is to make a cohabitation agreement, have both parties agree to the terms by signature and get the document notarized. Make sure it is signed and dated and even filed with a good attorney. That way, if things go wrong, as they often do, you aren’t left holding the court’s opinion of what you owe your partner for the years of living together.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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