Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

Palimony was brought to the front of the news by the Lee Marvin palimony case.  In that case, Lee and Michelle Marvin had lived together as man and wife.  When they separated, a palimony case was brought against Lee Marvin.  To prove a palimony claim a plaintiff must have an underlying claim such as implied agreement, written or oral agreement.  Living together is not an implied agreement between unmarried people regarding their property.

California will enforce most agreements between unmarried couples.  Reasons for being could be due to ban on same sex marriage, one partner already married, one of them not wanting the responsibility to support their partner and a desire to not share the property and assets they had when they started living together.

There are three types of agreements between cohabitating partners.  The first one is an implied agreement.  They are unspoken understandings between the couple that she will always be supported, even if a break up occurs.  It is surprising to learn that a court can make you live up to this type of agreement.

Oral agreements are made between the couple but again after a break up there are always two sides to every story.

Written agreements are the preferred way to guarantee rights between the two partners.  It is signed by both parties and will ensure some measure of security in case of a break up.  It helps clarify exactly what each partner expects from the relationship and helps to open communication.

Partners should concentrate on financial matters before you move in together.  You may think you know what the distribution of bills or assets will be but find out your partner clearly has a different idea.  Talk through the issues and then have an agreement drawn up.  An agreement you have written yourself is better than no agreement at all.  Preferably, an attorney is more likely to find any discrepancies or find any issues that could cause problems in the future.

A couple may feel they are “in love” and don’t need to protect themselves or their financial future.  If you ask them, most divorced couples will tell you they were “in love” when they married each other.

Keep your money and assets separate, don’t refer to your partner as your husband or wife, and keep a clearly written agreement on what you agreed on when you started living together.  Last of all; don’t put titles or other assets in your joint names.  Joint ownership can be an implied understanding that all property will be shared equally.

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