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Explaining palimony

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Alimony

The end of a relationship can be challenging, whether it be a marriage or a long-term relationship. New Jersey residents can often find themselves unsure of their legal rights when dissolving a partnership.

Most people are familiar with the concept of alimony – financial support payments one ex-spouse gives to their former partner. A similar idea exists to cover long-term relationships where the partners never obtained a marriage license. Palimony is the term used to refer to court-mandated financial support granted in cases where a couple breaks up but was not legally married.

How does palimony work?

In function, palimony works nearly exactly like alimony does, once the court has ruled that one ex-partner owes it to the other. But the requirements and rules surrounding palimony have some important distinctions versus alimony.

With alimony, the court expects that a divorce will generally end with alimony payments, and the burden of proof would rest with the divorced parties to demonstrate that no alimony payments are necessary.

But in a situation where palimony might be appropriate, the burden is on the plaintiff to demonstrate that a marriage-like situation existed between themselves and their former partner.

Proof of a marriage-like relationship

Typically, it will be necessary for you to present tangible proof that your former relationship was functionally equivalent to a marriage. The best proof is usually a palimony agreement, a pre-existing document in which the partners codify whether one partner will pay palimony after a relationship ends.

Other factors the court will often take into account are:

  • Whether the couple produced children
  • How long the relationship lasted
  • The nature of the living arrangement
  • The finances and assets of each former partner
  • Whether the couple had presented themselves as married

Ultimately, palimony has a significantly higher burden of proof to clear than alimony. But if you were in a long-term marriage-like relationship, you may be entitled to palimony payments.