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.