Spousal Support is a legal obligation that requires one person to financially provide for their spouse or partner with whom they are divorcing, separating, or breaking up. “Palimony” is essentially the same thing, but it involves financial support from one unmarried partner to another after their breakup.
Support can be in the form of money, property, or services. The goal of this support is to ensure that neither party has unfair economic hardship as a result of the end of their relationship.
What is palimony and how does it differ from alimony?
Alimony is a type of spousal support paid to one spouse by the other under either a divorce settlement agreement or a court order. The term palimony refers to payments similar to alimony but made between two persons who lived together as a couple but were never married.
Palimony may only be awarded in New Jersey if the couple had a written agreement in which one partner agreed to pay the other financial support following a split. An example of such a document may be a cohabitation agreement. Cohabitation agreements are similar to pre-nuptial agreements, but for non-married couples.
Although palimony requires a signed written agreement because of New Jersey’s statute of frauds, there are exceptions called “performance exceptions.” A performance exception can allow a court to enforce a verbal promise for support. Usually, the written and signed agreement requirement is only set aside in extraordinary circumstances, however.
Because of the complex issues that can arise due to the end of civil unions, domestic partnerships and marriages, it’s not always easy to understand what each party is entitled to receive. Learning more about your rights and options as you separate from your partner can help you negotiate your split from a position of power.