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Can I Seek Alimony After a Long-Term Romantic Relationship (Palimony)?


Ending a long-term relationship between romantic partners can be just as emotionally and financially challenging as getting divorced. If you were in a romantic relationship for a long time but never actually got married, do you have a right to seek alimony after the relationship ends?

This is a common question that our Orlando family law attorney at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., hears from clients. If you want your former partner to pay alimony – also known as palimony – after your relationship ends, consult with an attorney.

What is palimony?

Once you are married, you receive numerous rights and benefits under Florida law. One of them is the right to equitable property distribution and alimony, also known as spousal support, after the marriage ends.

Alimony is awarded to one spouse to help them maintain the standard of living that was established during the marriage. However, as provided in Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, a spouse needs to show an actual need for alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay spousal support.

But what about alimony for long-term partners, which is commonly referred to as “palimony”?

Are you legally entitled to alimony after your long-term relationship ends?

No, Florida law does not recognize the term “palimony,” while the state’s alimony laws do not apply to long-term partnerships. Thus, you are not legally entitled to “palimony” unless you have obtained a marriage in the state of Florida.

However, if one of the partners agrees to pay alimony after a long-term relationship ends, they can do it if they want to. But if you receive alimony payments from your former partner and there is no “palimony” or cohabitation agreement, you may not be able to take legal action if your ex-partner decides to stop paying all of a sudden.

Creating a “palimony” agreement

Even though Florida does not have palimony laws and does not recognize common-law marriages, there is a way to protect your property and be entitled to alimony if your long-term relationship comes to an end.

If partners are in a long-term relationship but have not been married, they may enter into the so-called “cohabitation agreement.” A cohabitation agreement is basically a contract between romantic partners that views their relationship like a business partnership.

The cohabitation contract – or palimony agreement, for that matter – may make a clear distinction between separate and jointly owned property. The agreement can specify how the property and other assets will be divided if the relationship ever ends.

If the cohabitation agreement is valid and in writing, it can also contain provisions regarding financial support that will be paid by one party to the other if the relationship ends. However, it is vital to consult with a knowledgeable family lawyer in Orlando to help you draft a cohabitation agreement and ensure that you are entitled to palimony.

The cohabitation agreement could be deemed unenforceable if strict rules are not followed when creating and signing the contract. For this reason, consult with our knowledgeable attorney Steve W. Marsee to help you create a valid agreement. Call 407-521-7171 for a consultation.

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