What is Palimony?

Palimony is a combination of the words pal and alimony, and signifies settlement money paid to a significant other to whom you were never married.

For example, if you lived with a woman for several years and had promised to support the woman, when the relationship ended, the woman could attempt to sue you based on this claim.

It is important to understand that palimony is not a legal term, but rather a pun used as a simple term to signify this type of settlement.

Another term for it is a “non-marital relationship contract,” meaning a relationship that was not marriage but still had certain spoken agreements similar to a marriage.

Because palimony is sought outside of an actual marriage, it can be much more difficult to establish a legal claim to financial support.

For instance, if you were living with a man who was not your husband and he promised to take care of you financially, it is hard to prove that he made these claims. In marriage, this is a tacit promise.

It is easier to establish such a “non-marital relationship contract” when the couple has been in a common-law marriage, which can establish certain common property issues. Common law marriage requires that the couple:

  • Live with each other for a set number of years (depending on the state)
  • Hold each other out as husband and wife (refer to each other as such)
  • Have intentions to become married

However, in some states like Florida common law marriages are not recognized, except those already established in other states, so it can be especially difficult to prove shared property. It can help to have a lawyer take a look at your case to see if you are entitled to money.