Palimony, while not new, became a recent hot-button issue in the media after NBA star Blake Griffin’s long-time girlfriend, and mother of his children, Brynn Cameron, announced she was suing him for palimony. She claims that Griffin, having supposedly entered a new relationship with model Kendall Jenner, must now support her for life financially.
And while the media was quick to break the story, it left a lot of people scratching their heads and asking: “What is palimony?” To start with, we’ll have to first explain Marvin Actions.
What is a Palimony Claim in a Marvin Action Matter?
Marvin Actions are civil court actions filed by individuals against their partners with whom they have been cohabitating but never married. The name originates from the 1976 case, Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal.3d 660, which involved a woman (Michelle Marvin), who after breaking up with her partner/boyfriend, Lee Marvin (a famous movie and television actor in such films as “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Big Red One”), sought support payments, or palimony, and half of the property acquired by him during their relationship, although they were never married. Even though Michelle lost at trial, her case did establish ground breaking law, that a person in a non-marital cohabitation relationship, may sue to enforce an agreement in contract to pay support and/or to share property, similar to the rights of married persons in a divorce.
Ultimately, the claim for support in such cases is known as “palimony,” a derivative of the word “alimony.”
In a palimony claim, a partner of a non-marital/cohabitation relationship sues for their right to monetary support. The success of this claim hinges on an expressed or implied contract that the parties agreed that he or she would be entitled to financial support in the event the relationship ended. Proof of such an agreement would be direct evidence that one partner had the intent to support/provide for the other partner for the rest of their life. For example, such an agreement can be demonstrated in letters, emails, or a contract.
Palimony cases are rare and seldom talked about for a number of reasons, the most common being that they are typically hard to prove and therefore hard to win.
The success of the claim also can be dependent on the amount of time the couple lived together, whether or not they had shared bank accounts, or if one spouse financially supported the other for a prolonged period during the relationship (therefore showing intent to “take care of” the other spouse). Proving palimony claims can be very complicated. Each case is driven by individual specific facts.
The expert team at Buncher Family Law is led by a Certified Family Law Specialist. The firm has acquired an array of successful experiences fighting on both sides of Marvin Action, divorce, and palimony cases. Our founder Sven Buncher, along with partner Lauren Mullee, are able to litigate both sides of the case and confidently call the courtroom their second office. In some cases, Marvin Action or palimony claims require clients to hire two different attorneys to deal with related matters in Civil Court and Family Court, but not when selecting Buncher Family Law. We have the expertise to handle both. This allows you to receive receive proper and compassionate guidance from a legal team that will fight for your case without litigating for billable hours’ sake.