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Palimony vs. Alimony: What’s the Difference?

Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville

Legal terms are easy to confuse. We speak differently in the courtroom than we do among friends. In casual situations, we can swap words around, knowing that everyone understands what we’re talking about.

Legal language, however, is very specific. To the uninitiated, the words can all start sounding the same. Many people who enter a family law situation have no other experience with courtrooms, lawyers, and so on. Language zips by, and it can be hard to know exactly what everyone is talking about.

For example, you may hear the terms “palimony” and “alimony” and assume they both describe the same thing. They do not, and this article is here to help you understand the difference between the two.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony, also called “spousal support,” is a way of protecting someone after a divorce. Legally, married couples are family. The law assumes that when you are breaking up a family, neither spouse should leave the marriage destitute.

To that end, it created alimony. In most marriages, even when both spouses are gainfully employed, one partner makes less money. Spouses come to rely one another financially, and the court wants to make sure they can stay financially stable.

Alimony is not based on gender. It is an attempt to keep both spouses within their accustomed lifestyle after the marriage ends. When making spousal support rulings, the court considers each spouse’s income and future earning potential. Often, alimony has a time limit, and the receiving spouse should eventually become financially independent.

What Is Palimony?

Palimony essentially has the same goals as alimony. The biggest difference is that it is for couples who have lived together for some time, but they never officially married.

Palimony recognizes that people can become financially dependent on one another, even if they are unwed. It is often based on agreements and promises between spouses, including verbal ones.

It is harder to make a palimony case in court. In a divorce, the court automatically assumes that someone will likely need support. In a palimony case, the person requesting aid must make a strong case including evidence, witnesses, and so on.

Ten states also recognize “common law” marriages. There may be no official wedding or ceremony, but if the couple is together long enough, the state considers them married. In these situations, common-law spouses can receive alimony.

Options for Palimony in Florida

Florida residents have options for receiving financial support after ending a long-term relationship, but the state does not officially recognize palimony.

Official Contracts

If you are moving in with your partner, you can create an official agreement for financial support and palimony.

Oral and Implied Agreements

You can bring a former partner to court over financial agreements, even if they are not on paper. This is not technically a palimony trial. It would instead fall under a contract dispute.


If you helped your partner pay for their home or car, you could go to court to seek repayment for this money.

The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. can help you work out any of the above options. If you need financial assistance after a long-term break-up, contact our office for a free consultation. You can reach us online or by phone at (904) 701-0591**Consultation fees may apply to family law consultations.