A common law marriage occurs when rights given to a married couple are also given to a couple who meets the requirements and conditions that define a common law marriage in the jurisdiction where they reside. These conditions and requirement may mean having been together for a certain period of years or a declaration or acknowledgement of both individuals of a union. When spouses who have entered into a common law marriage wish to dissolve such a marriage, one spouse may receive palimony as determined by the court.
Palimony is alimony for common law marriages. However, there are several distinct differences between the 2 similar principles. Palimony is not just limited to common law marriage but any type of relationship that is defined by the jurisdiction where it is being sought as one that merits division of property or assets.
The term palimony originated during the 1977 court hearing between Marvin v. Marvin when Michelle Marvin argued for her right to properties and assets due to the promise made by Lee Marvin to support her despite his marriage to another during the time he had made the promise.
In order to determine if an individual merits palimony, the court has the obligation to review and evaluate the longevity of the relationship, the implied promise made by one to financially support the other for his or her entire life, any written contracts, the financial status of the one seeking palimony, the contributions made by each individual to the relationship, and any income disparity.