Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Alimony for Married Couples, Palimony for Others

Most of us know about alimony, but have you heard of “palimony”? Palimony takes the concept of alimony – support that one spouse pays another when they divorce, so that the latter can make a smooth transition into single life – and extends it to friends, partners in a relationship, or pals.

The idea behind palimony is that unwed couples face many of the difficulties that married couples do if they split after having been together for a long time. Financial support immediately after a break up can help a spouse who may have been out of the work place or raising children for years. Without palimony, the partner who had been earning less may find him- or herself in a difficult situation right after the split. Palimony can help mitigate the damages, and same-sex couples can take advantage of the benefits of palimony agreements.

Palimony agreements are a type of contract in which one side agrees to provide financial support to the other in the event that they break up. Contracts require consideration (that is, each side must provide or give up something to the other, otherwise it is just a one-sided agreement); consideration for palimony agreements often comes from the other partner’s agreeing to be a homemaker or to stay at home and raise children. Because that partner agreed to maintain family life, he or she has to make sacrifices, often being forced to give up a career. Couples can recognize this sacrifice in a palimony agreement by agreeing that one partner should provide financial support to the other if the two later split.

Palimony agreements are often part of broader cohabitation agreements, which function as prenups for unwed couples. In fact, one of the more important cases for recognizing cohabitation agreements of same-sex couples comes from Texas. It is 1982’s Small v. Harper case, which involved two women who lived together for over a decade while splitting household chores, combining their money and saving towards retirement together.

Have you considered using a cohabitation or palimony agreement?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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