Palimony is a colloquial term used to refer to a court’s award of financial support or assets to one party of a non-marital relationship following a break-up. The term is a portmanteau of the words pal (meaning friend) and alimony. The term was created by media during coverage of the California case Marvin v. Marvin, in which the court held that express agreements between non-marital partners regarding division of earnings and property are enforceable.
Currently, a majority of states recognize palimony when there is a valid agreement. However, states differ in what form they require the agreement to take. Some states require a written agreement, while others need only an express oral or implied agreement. Although, not all states recognize palimony as a cause of action, like Rhode Island.
[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]