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An Experienced Palimony Attorney Can Help You through a Difficult Separation

Until fairly recently, only married couples were legally allowed to seek alimony after a separation or divorce. Today, palimony awards can ease the financial complexities involved when an unmarried couple ends a long-term relationship. An attorney at the firm can help you navigate the financial aspects of your separation to ensure that you have the support you need to financially recover from your palimony matte.  

What is Palimony?

Whereas alimony arranges financial support for married spouses after a divorce, palimony arranges financial support for unmarried, cohabiting couples. The term was coined as a portmanteau of “pal” and “alimony,” and originates from the 1976 Marvin v. Marvin case.

In this case, Michelle Triola Marvin, a longtime partner of actor Lee Marvin, claimed that she was entitled to half of the income and property he had acquired during their relationship, because her support as a homemaker allowed him to pursue his career.

Though the suit was unsuccessful, it established a precedent for settlements after the end of any long-term relationship, marital or not.

Image of palimony payment couple

When is Palimony Awarded?

Palimony is now legally recognized in more than twenty states, including New Jersey. Like alimony, it is awarded to the lower-earning partner as a lump sum award. 

The year 2010 marked a major change in palimony cases in New Jersey. To successfully prove his or her case, a client must now be able to provide evidence of:

  • An agreement for continuous financial support between the unmarried couple in writing and signed by both parties
  • Independent legal advice for both parties prior to the signing of the agreement

However, in 2014, our firm's own expert attorney, Angelo Sarno, successfully argued an amendment to this in the Supreme Court ruling on Maeker v. Ross. As a result, the 2010 requirement for a written palimony agreement is not retroactive. In other words, New Jersey citizens who entered a long-term relationship in which one partner promised financial support for the other before 2010 may still qualify for palimony – even if their agreement was not written down.

Clients should still keep in mind that oral agreements are often much harder to prove than written agreements. However, the longer the relationship and the more established the financial support, the more valid a partner’s palimony claim becomes.

If the plaintiff can successfully demonstrate that they have “fully performed” their duties and supported their partner, their case is much stronger. If a couple has children together, it may further validate one partner's claim to financial support from the other.  

Factors Considered in Determining the Palimony Award

Once a claim for palimony is established, a number of factors can affect the total amount received:

  • Length of the relationship
  • Age and physical condition of both partners
  • Standard of living during the relationship
  • How long it will take for recipient to become self-sufficient (by gaining a degree, receiving training, or otherwise)
  • Primary care-taking responsibilities of children
  • Ability of partner to support recipient

Like alimony, the total amount of a palimony payment ranges widely. Most often, it falls somewhere between several hundred and several thousand dollars.

Palimony and Child Support

The financial resources utilized to raise a child – including funding for school supplies, potential medical expenses, and various day-to-day expenses – are rarely sufficient to also fully support the caretaker’s needs or career advancements. Because palimony relates specifically to the partners in a relationship, it is treated separately from child support

However, this separation can be advantageous for the paying partner: because these two types of payments are different, palimony is tax deductible, whereas child support is not.

Reach Out Today

The attorneys at Snyder Sarno D'Aniello Maceri & da Costa LLC are dedicated to ensuring that every client receives the financial support they need after a complicated separation. Contact our firm today and set up a consultation to discuss your case and learn how you can receive the financial support you deserve.

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