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.
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.
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:
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 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.