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California Palimony Law: Spousal Support Without Marriage
Palimony law
May, 20 2018

Palimony law isn’t something that is discussed very often. While we hear about it, there isn’t a lot of detail about it or what it entails. But, it is something that you should think about if you are in a union that does not fall under marriage. You might not necessarily think about the paperwork or the process, but just what it is and what it entails. After all, you want to know what your options are if something goes wrong.

What is Palimony Law?

Palimony is a term defining support payments between unmarried partners after a breakup. These aren’t standard in all states, however. In California, they were permitted in 1976 and have been around since. Other states have since followed suit, but only a select few. During these cases, the court that hears them isn’t family law, but civil. They are general civil actions because they are more a breach of contract than a union. There are even cases where they are considered a partnership claim, instead.

Marriage Recognition

While California is lax in its views of alimony, it is a bit more strict on its views of marriage and what it is. This might seem like an odd thing to say about a state that allows same-sex marriage, but it is true. Consider the fact that most states in the union have common law marriage recognition. However, California does not. If it did, unmarried partners could file for dissolution in family court or receive benefits awarded to formal marriages. It would even entitle some to community property. They do, however, recognize it if it is a common law marriage from another state that does have them.

Palimony Law at a Glance


  • California Family Code Section 300 (defining marriage)
  • California Family Code Section 308 (recognizing out-of-state marriages, including common law marriages in other states)
  • California Family Code Section 4330 (authorizing spousal support)
Marriage Requirements
  • Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute marriage. Consent must be followed by the issuance of a license and solemnization.
  • Two unmarried persons 18 years of age or older, who are not otherwise disqualified, are capable of consenting to and consummating the marriage.
  • A marriage contracted outside California that would be valid by laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was contracted is valid in California.
Spousal Support
  • In a judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, the court may order a party to pay for the support of the other party an amount, for a period of time, that the court determines is just and reasonable, based on the standard of living established during the marriage.

What is the Palimony Law Process Like?

The palimony process is a little speedier and easier than a divorce, depending on the circumstances. Divorces tend to get emotional and catty. While palimony disputes can be like that, they tend to end up more like negotiations. This tends to be the case because these cases are treated more like contracts than marriages. While some can take time and might not be easy, they are a little easier and faster than divorces. It just depends on the process and the details involved. Cases involving property and children can get a little messy. But, a palimony case that is only about the dissolution tends to be easier.

Palimony is something that should be at least thought about. You don’t necessarily want to take the steps. Just know what your options are and what you should do if the need arises. Everyone is happy until they aren’t. And few people ever see a dissolution of their union coming. Regardless of whether you see it coming or not, you will need help afterward. And the best options you have are ones that involve professionals. You want to make sure that you have someone experienced and knowledgeable helping you along the way.

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Stockton Family Court

  • The Stockton Family Court is a division of the Superior Court Of California.
  • The main responsibility of the Stockton Family Court is to settle matters pertaining to Child Custody.
  • Family Court services also include an orientation program for parents and modifying existing child custody agreements.