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An Austin Divorce Attorney Discusses “Palimony”

Austin Divorce Attorney - Ring on top of moneyNunis and Associates

Couples who have a marriage recognized under Texas law have certain legal rights and responsibilities if that marriage dissolves; but what about partners who separate after having lived together for an extended period of time without entering into a marriage? An experienced Austin divorce attorney will often field inquiries about “palimony,” which may be described as alimony and property division regarding cohabiting couples. However, palimony is not a legally recognized term in Texas.

Palimony and California Law

The term “palimony” became popular after a California case involving actor Lee Marvin. Although he never married his long-time companion, the California court ruled that an agreement between non-married couples regarding support and division of assets needs not be in writing to be legally recognized; an agreement may be implied from the actions of the parties.

Texas Law

Similarly, absent a written agreement that Texas courts have recognized as legally binding, two cohabiting individuals may be found to have entered into an implied contract. However, the existence of an implied contract is very much a matter of the individual circumstances surrounding the case. Accordingly, an Austin divorce attorney will look to such factors as:

  • The length of the relationship
  • Any writing of any sort indicating financial arrangements
  • Any oral promises that can be corroborated by independent sources
  • Whether one partner gave up a career to provide care for the couple’s home or children
  • The extent to which one partner provided financial support for the advancement of the other’s educational or career aspirations
  • The extent to which each partner can independently support his or her self
  • The relative disparity between the earning power of each

Texas Common Law

Under certain circumstances, Texas recognizes the validity of an informal marriage, more commonly referred to as a common law marriage. In contrast to a palimony claim where an agreement is implied, an informal marriage creates the same legal obligations for the parties as does a formal marriage registered in the county of domicile. The three factors that may establish an informal marriage are:

  • The couple agreed to be married,
  • The couple lived together as a married couple, and
  • The couple represented themselves as a married couple to others.

Contact an Austin Divorce Attorney for Legal Advice

The dissolution of a long-term relationship is an extremely difficult and emotional time. It does, however, involve important legal rights and financial considerations. Be certain you have all the necessary information before you act. Call an Austin Divorce Attorney from Nunis & Associates at (512) 236-9696.

  • 801 West Avenue
    Suite 200
    Austin, TX 78701

    (512) 236-9696

    (512) 236-9695

  • Licensed to practice in Texas Courts, including all 4 Federal Districts of Texas. Primary practice in Central Texas: including Austin and Travis County, Georgetown and Williamson County, Bastrop and Bastrop County, San Marcos, Dripping Springs and Hays County.