What is Palimony? 23

Financial Obligations for Unmarried Couples Who Split

The term “palimony” is actually not a legal term but one that society uses to describe financial support and property division between an unmarried couple.

Typically, unmarried couples (including those that were engaged) do not enjoy the protections and benefits of marriage including those extended during a divorce. That means that unmarried couples are not entitled to spousal support nor are they entitled to a portion of the “marital estate ” because, essentially, there is no marital estate to divide.

However, the courts also recognize that many couples live together as if they were married and make financial and life decisions based upon the promise of the relationship.

Because of this, some courts have ruled that a financial obligation still exists even though no formal marriage has taken place. This is most often seen in cases where couples have lived together for long periods of time and had no formal or written agreement with regard to financial support after the split.

An award of palimony also depends greatly upon the original intentions of the parties as well as any oral promises that were made over the years. In addition, palimony is not written in stone so each case will depend upon the laws of your state as well as the unique facts of your case.

Some general considerations for palimony are:

  • Length of the relationship
  • Promises or intent of financial support
  • Sacrifices made by one partner to further the career of the other and the earning ability of that partner as a result of the sacrifice made
  • Difference between incomes

Palimony is often made as a lump sum distribution instead of monthly payments and may be split between cash and property. In order to receive palimony, a suit must be brought before the court and the process can become very complicated especially with the absence of any written agreements.

To alleviate this problem, couples can enter into a formal agreement that outlines their intent to share an interest in various property as well as an agreement about paying financial support after a breakup.

Often called a cohabitation agreement, this type of document is similar to a prenuptial agreement in that it stipulates who gets what and how the breakup 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 and if a marriage does take place.

Cohab agreements allow couples to protect their financial interests while living together and can be a great solution for engaged couples who are deeply entwined financially.

You may also want to read this book to learn more about cohabitation agreements.


  • virginia rhodes

    does palimony exsist in the state of connecticut.

    Man worked for 22 years woman never worked
    man owns house in his name only



  • raven

    does the state of nevada give palimony?

  • destiny

    i think palimony is stupid if you live with a man and are not married you are responsible for yourself when you decide to own property together it should be made in both names you cant just date someone ane excpect to get paid for it if your with someone long enough to get palimony and are not married ther obviously is a problem in the realationship

    • Beth

      In response to the person who thinks that living with someone for 20 years, having children together and building a life together is “dating” —maybe they should finish puberty, graduate highschool and learn how to spell prior to discussing grown up issues.

    • Knowing

      In response to your comment.
      I knew a man for two weeks when he proposed. I asked for a year to find out how we got along and to see what we could accomplish together. we shared many of the same dreams…he a dreamer…me a doer.
      He asked me to move in. I did. I left my job. He made several promises. I found them to be false. I returned to work. He continued to promise me the world. I loved him, and wanted to believe he had my best interest at heart. It took me seven years to really see the truth. He is controlling. A liar….very convincing liar.
      I contributed SO much to the household, that it left me nothing for myself. He continued to use every excuse and reasoning for his behavior. I forgave him. This dysfunctional codependent relationship continued on….on broken promise after broken promise. I moved out. He sabotaged my relationship with my father, by lying to him.
      He left me no alternatives. I eventually had to return…by his design.
      Life was ok for awhile…He was away working, finally, and so was I. I got a whole four months of time to clear my head. But continued to support the household, while working remotely. He continued to make promises, and act as he was sorry for the mistakes he had made in the past. Saying all the right things. Wanting to start over. WHAT a sucker I was…believing in him. He came back, got drunk, and literally pushed me out the door violently….telling me to take the dog, and the cat…and I had 15 minutes to vacate or else. THREATS….no longer had the same effect…but vacate I did.
      My only crime, was thinking that I was married for seven years, acting married, being married, supporting the relationship and the household as if married…and not putting that sorry SOB where he belonged.
      You see, the human condition is POWER and CONTROL. And those who don’t exercise it for themselves, try to force it upon others. It is human nature.
      So. Please do not judge these women who have found themselves at the mercy of such men. let us try to find a solution. if you know nothing about this…than be thankful.

      • victim


  • stupidgirl’smom

    Stupidgirl had a baby with a guy who can’t/won’t get a money paying job. She has described him as a stay-at-home Dad- yes, they just had a baby. So, she is supporting whole household.

    I anticipate they’ll break up eventually, at that point, it would seem he can sue for palimony, since he is absolutely financially dependend on Stupidgirl. In Nevada…………any thoughts?

    • karen

      She needs to get him to sign a paper so if they ever break up that he will try to be a MAN and get a job and support her and her baby. Can you even get palimoney in Nevada?

    • Ryan

      Wow, really sucks when the shoe is on the other foot.

  • Just a regular family – raise kids, make joint financial decisions, purchase furniture and house together but only in his name. 14 years of promises that everything is “ours” and then…”buh bye and good luck with nothing.”

  • marie

    Been together 7years, his house in his name only. but all the furnitures are mine. I cook, clean,do his laundry, and do wifely duties, I buy groceries once in a while, I buy his clothes with my own money.. Made me stop going to school, I have 1yr to go. He promised to take care of me “like no one else has ever taken care of me”. Said if anything happens to him, I could stay and live in this house until. All verbals! He’s controlling, verbally abusive, opinionated, prejudice, stingy, rude in front of my family. I have retirement income, nothing compared to what he has. I get a hundred dollars for b-day and christmas only. I want to get out of the relationship. Help! what are my rights? Thanks!

  • pamela

    4 years ago I moved 200 m. north to live with my boyfriend of 10 years after my only child went off to college. He cajoled me into working for his business at a mere $12/hr. (i was a gm making $58k) so that i would have the flexibility to travel with him. He then gave me a credit car to cover expenses that I wouldn’t be able to afford on my new salary and said he did not want for there to be disparity. Time after time I would suggest business ideas for me that he would dismiss because he was considering retiring and that would consume too much of my time. He’s a millionaire. At $12 an hour I had to find some work to supplement my income so I started painting houses. Now after 10 years plus he sends me packing because he’s decided that he doesn’t want to be committed to me anymore. I’m now on food stamps, painting when I have work and driving a 10 year old car with 195K on it (as I drove back and forth 400 miles rt for 7 years).
    Is this a viable palimony case? I do not have a sense of entitlement for his money outside of requesting some help as it was him who backed me in corner regarding my career.

  • Terry

    I have been in a relationship with a man who went to work overseas in 2000. I was here in the texas working, while he sent suppot of $500.00 a mo. He also sent money for me to pay his bills, with a power of attorney. We had shared car insurance, because he left a car for me to drive. And have one disable one in the garage. When I became ill, he decided not to help me anymore. Leaving both cars here on my property disable. We shared a P.O.BOX together that I had to give up because he stopped paying for it. Could I sue for palimony in the state of texas. He bought me an engagement ring then took it and I have no idea where it is

  • Karie

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for seven years and he asked me to move in when I hit a bad spot financially. He knew my circumstances when I moved in. So my two boys and I moved in and one of them are his. We have only been living here since May but he has changed our life greatly.We agreed after I finished school that I would start helping financially. I just finished school and am getting ready to take my state boards for my certification. I had a job until he quit letting me drive his truck and I’m now jobless. I came home to find him in bed with another woman and with out notice he is telling me and my children we have move out as of the same day. Can I get him for palimony and child support until I get a new job and stable?

  • denise simas

    i have lived with my son father for the past 13 years. He paid the house payment and the utlities, and i pay for all the groceries, phone, internet and wireless as well as pay for clothes for my child and any school expenses. He pays for baseball expenses. I recently caught him at a motel with another women. He is tell me to leave what are my rights and can i get palimony.

  • stupid girl 2

    OMG the same thing happened to me, we were together 15yrs and now he wants to b single 5 yrs ago bought me a car (he works for big 3) as a gift for a holiday and a promise we would marry and year after year i waited helping pay for the house and car and his motorcycle and now im out on my ass with nothing , well at least ill get good childsupport for awhile..

  • Lost

    Was justwondering if there is palamony in Arizona. Was in a
    relationship for 12 year and have a daughter together. Through
    us out although we both were on the tittle. Have not worked in
    about 10 years as we discussed for me to resign my position
    that I had been in for about 9 years.

  • theresa constantinea

    Is there palimony in Idaho, And what is the the criteria for a solid case in
    a cort of law?

  • cheryl

    I would like to know if palimony is in Florida I was going to get married to him for the 2nd time we have lived together for 6 years now the firs time we were to marry we even had the place picked out and money down on the place we have been together for 20 years now all together.he told me he would never hurt me again and I would not be put out in the street’s is there anything i can do?

  • Rhonda Hanson Callejas

    My partner (common law husband) & I have been living together for nearly 6 years & we recently moved to another town to rent a house big enough fo bring my 4 children to live with us full time (and we both signed the contract for a year) well now 4 months down the road he leaves me for another woman, knowing that I can’t afford this house by myself since he is on the lease also is there anything legally I can do to make him to continue to pay his half of the rent for the time remaining on the contract?

  • Rhonda Hanson Callejas

    (2) I am scared to death now that he up & left me for another woman & left me alone with my 4 kids, He has been the only one working but I’m on disability & we both have mutually contributed in our relationship. Our verbal agreement was that he would cover the whole rent & I would cover the electric & gas bill & all the groceries but he would give me $60-70 a week to do laundry for us 2 & my 4 kids (even though it was a verbal agreement I have text messages saved to my e-mail where he agree’s with the arrangement) Now that he cowardly left me for another woman without ANY prior warning, how can I make him at least pay for half of the rent for the time remaining on our contract? (even though he agreed to pay the full rent I don’t think the courts here in Texas would order him to continue paying the full rent if he is no longer residing here with me, but I think he should legally have to pay half of the rent since he also signed the contract or our lease agreement for a year) Hopefully someone can tell me what I need to do to get a judge to order him to continue paying his half of the rent for the remaining 9 months of our lease. So I can have time to try to come up with some sort of idea to be able to make it since I am not able to work a normal job because I’m disabled.

  • Judy Cozart

    I was with an older man…while I thought he was going through a Divorce….He EVEN KEPT TELLING ME HE LOVED ME, & , as I Loved him too for 20 years…& after She found out about us…as this is a small town we live in, & I Did LOVE HIM…AS HE LOVED ME!! He said ” I was the LOVE OF HIS LIFE!! Well, I gave him a time limit to get Divorce…as I told him many times ” IT DIDN’T TAKE DONALD & IVANA TO GET A DIVORCE! All his friends…& My friends too, + his attorney even to.d me “He’s never gonna leave Pat Because there was too Much Land, Assets, & much Money involved!! He, for 20 years…literally….took care of me….he would tell me that he had made provisions for me, if for God To Bid Something happen to him before I. I never saw anything…& sign ANY LEGAL PAPERS!! I FINALLY BROKE IT OFF WITH HIM….as it was SO HARD BECAUSE 20 Years mean something. He’s an “OLD FAMILY FRIEND”….& i’AM NOT A GOLD DIGGER….I just want What’s Coming To me. His attorney & his wife had adjoining rooms when I went to the 1997 Inaugural to See Bill Clinton Sworn in. I have my picture with BILL & Everyone in our town…KNEW ABOUT WELDON & I!!! We got So brave, we’d just go to the restaurants here…& other places. Our SEX LIFE WAS WONDERFUL…until just 5 years Ago, I Met A Man I’d known from HIGH SCHOOL & her started calling on Me. Well, when I told Him that we needed to “End” This Amiably , her got So Mad!!! Now, do I Have ANY RIGHTS @ All?? 20 years of My Life Given to a Man I TRULY LOVED & He Loved Me❤️So, Do I Have A LEG TO stand On to get Anything outta this???