The Basics of Palimony Law The Basics of Palimony Law

What To Look for in A Viable Palimony Case?

Few people are familiar with what the laws of Palimony entail. Palimony is basically used to describe the manner in which assets acquired during the relationship are to be divided, if at all, between the parties. In a typical situation unmarried couples do not enjoy the protections and benefits of marriage. This means that unmarried couples are not entitled to spousal support nor are they entitled to a portion of the “marital estate” because there is no “marital estate” to divide.

The term “palimony” was a name suggested by a reporter to the “Father of Palimony,” Marvin Mitchelson, the lawyer for Michelle Marvin Treola in the infamous California case Marvin v. Marvin. In this case, Plaintiff and defendant lived in a nonmarital relationship, with an oral agreement to share equally all property accumulated. Upon the ending of their relationship, the plaintiff brought suit to enforce the oral agreement the couple had made.

In this case, the California court found that partners in nonmarital relationships may bring claims for property division based on both expressed and implied contracts.

Some general considerations for palimony:
  • Length of your relationship with your significant other
  • Any promises, agreements, or any intent of financial support
  • Any sacrifices made by one of the partners to able the other to further his or her career and earning ability
  • The difference between incomes

Helpful Actions to Take if You Are in A Nonmarital Relationship

Consider entering into a formal agreement, or a “Cohabitation Agreement,” that outlines your intent to share an interest in various properties as well as an agreement about paying financial support after a breakup.

A “Cohabitation Agreement” is essentially a recipe for the dissolution of the relationship. This document is similar to a prenuptial agreement in that it stipulates who gets what and how the break up will affect the parties financially. The difference is that a prenup assumes that a marriage is forthcoming and does not actually go into effect until the marriage has legally occurred. A cohabitation agreement, on the other hand, does not anticipate a marriage and effectively ends when a marriage does take place. Cohabitation agreements allow couples to protect their financial interests while living together and can be a great solution for engaged couples that are deeply entwined financially.

Furthermore, when entering into a long-term nonmarital relationship following the above recommendations can help create a fair division of assets. You and your partner should highly consider entering into a formal agreement that outlines how your various assets will be distributed along with possibly drafting a cohabitation agreement. All of the above tips will help in the long run and will likely result in a far less contemptuous battle if your relationship falls through.

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