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Palimony is a form of alimony awarded to one member of a non-marital couple who have separated. A palimony claim is a claim for alimony like support that arises out a relationship in which two parties have been living together or cohabitating without being married.

Palimony suits take years to settle and are difficult to prove. The duration of the relationship, the commingling of funds and the two parties' lifestyles are all factors that must be considered. I ndividuals who live together without being married are afforded no special protection beyond that afforded by traditional concepts of contract law, constructive trust law, and the like.

Palimony Lawyer

A Palimony lawsuit is really more like a lawsuit for the breach of a contract than a lawsuit for divorce. In contract lawsuits, plaintiffs are asking for money damages. Lawsuits for money damages are normally filed in the Law Division of the Superior Court. However, the Family Part is now the proper place to file a lawsuit for palimony. This is because a palimony lawsuit arises out of a "family-type" relationship, and it is considered best to have this type of a case decided by a judge with expertise in family law.

There are no specific court rules or statutes that provide directions as to what a written complaint in a palimony lawsuit should look like. However, the complaint should contain the following information:

  • Enough facts to show that the plaintiff and defendant have been living together for a reasonably long time;
  • A description of the living arrangements between the parties, including a list of the types of services that the plaintiff performed for the defendant;
  • A description of the promise or contract made to support the plaintiff for life;
  • An explanation of how the promise and/or contract was broken; and
  • A request for financial or monetary support.

Palimony Suits are for Financial Recovery

In palimony cases, the amount of money owed to the financially dependent partner is based on the promise or contract that was made between the partners. The sum of the support awarded is normally the amount determined to be necessary to support the plaintiff for the rest of her life, beginning from the time of the breakup of the relationship for as long as she might be expected to live. (There are special charts that allow experts to calculate the average life expectancy of a person of the plaintiff's age.) Unlike a divorce action, a palimony lawsuit can be filed only to recover money, not property. Division of property is only allowed in the context of a legal marriage.


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