What is “Palimony,” and Do You Qualify for It?
What is “Palimony,” and Do You Qualify for It?

Are you separating from a partner in California? Even if you weren’t married, you may qualify to receive continued financial support from your partner. You could seek it by filing a claim to receive palimony.

Keep reading to learn more. This overview will explain what palimony is and whether you qualify for it.


Palimony in California: What You Need to Know

Palimony is very similar to alimony. Someone may be required to pay alimony to their spouse during a separation or after a divorce so that the spouse can maintain their lifestyle.

Someone who pays palimony is also providing financial support to a partner from whom they are separated. The key difference is that palimony is paid when partners are unmarried. Palimony payments can take the form of money or assets.

Qualifying for Palimony in California

Whether you qualify to receive palimony in California depends on several factors. They include the following:

Whether You Were in a Common Law Marriage

Courts often order a partner to pay palimony when they are in a common law marriage with another partner. A common law marriage typically involves two people cohabitating together for a long enough time to be legally married.

California does not grant common law marriages. However, if you were in a common law marriage with your partner in another state before moving to California, you may qualify for palimony.

It’s worth noting that palimony cases typically aren’t handled by family courts in California. A palimony claim must be filed in a civil court since California doesn’t recognize common law marriages.

Whether You Lived With Your Partner

California law doesn’t require that two partners live together for any specific length of time to qualify for palimony. However, it can be difficult to win a palimony case if you didn’t live with your partner before separating.

Whether an Agreement Was in Place

This is perhaps the most important factor. Courts usually grant palimony when a partner can prove that the couple had a legally binding contract for support in the event of separation.

The contract must have involved a “consideration.” In legal terms, consideration is something of value that one promises and provides to another, usually in exchange for something else of value.

For example, if you and your partner live together, one of you may agree to provide domestic services. This might influence whether one of you receives palimony if you separate. However, it’s important to understand that sexual services do not qualify as consideration in these circumstances. 

A contract doesn’t necessarily need to be in writing for a partner to show they deserve palimony. Oral contracts are enforceable also. However, oral contracts are more difficult to prove and enforce than written contracts.

Other Factors Influencing Whether You Qualify for Palimony

The courts review each palimony claim on a case-by-case basis. 

Other factors a court may account for include the following:

  • The length of your relationship with your partner
  • The financial situations of you and your partner
  • Whether you and your partner have children together
  • Whether one of you made a substantial sacrifice to support the other’s career
  • Whether you portrayed your relationship to others as if you were married

Those are merely a few examples. Because palimony cases are often complex, it’s wise to enlist the help of a legal expert when filing a claim.

Palimony in California: When You Still Need Financial Support

Courts recognize that relationships can be very similar to marriages even when two partners are not technically married. Thus, there should be a means through which a partner can receive the equivalent of alimony after a serious relationship ends. 

You may qualify for palimony if you’re separating from your partner. While no one can guarantee you will receive it, you don’t need to stay in a relationship simply because you fear you’ll no longer enjoy the financial support you currently do.


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