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Jack R.
Jack R., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6147
Experience:  OH/TX Mediator and Attorney dealing with Family, Child, and Divorce Law
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May I sue for palimony I am widow and for over 3 years I entered

Customer Question

May I sue for palimony? I am widow and for over 3 years I entered into a relationship - a commitment. My partner often referred to me as his wife or fiancee. He was very verbally abusive and unfaithful to the point I recently left the relationship. I have lost a lot of money and business trying to pull us both up. He had a drug problem. I helped him keep a job by getting him to work all these years and/or filling out all his job applications because he did not know how. I did everything for him. I did what he expected a wife to do. His family acknowldges me as his wife. His son considers me as another mother. We had some joint accounts together. Now he is doing better and I need help but he does not want to support me the way I did him when he was unemployed. I need to know can I sue for palimony or pain suffering? If I am a good candidate for palimony can you refer me to someone who could represent me pro bono or at a reduced rate. I am going to need legal assistance.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Jack R. replied 8 years ago.
What state are you in ?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I live in Bakersfield, California
Expert:  Jack R. replied 8 years ago.

First, there is noi common law marriage in California. The courts will not consider any action that uses the pseudo- marriage as a basis for recovery. Any attempt to use the Family Code provision will be unsuccessful. Your facts seem to indicate you are trying to claim a common law marriage as a basis for you right to support.


Nonmarital cohabitation does not itself give the parties any property interests or support rights cognizable under the Family Code; and, unless either party can prove he or she is an "actual" or "putative" spouse of the relationship, any rights arising from the relationship cannot be adjudicated in a Family Code marital status action. [Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal.3d 660, 679-681, 134 Cal.Rptr. 815, 828-829, & fns. 17, 18 & 19; Schafer v. Super.Ct. (Christopher) (1986) 180 Cal.App.3d 305, 309, 225 Cal.Rptr. 513, 515]

The Marvin decions implied that parties are free to establish a contractual obligation which can be enforced on a contractual basis. There need to be a proven agreement for ongoing support. Per Marvin, unmarried cohabitants can avail themselves of the following traditional legal and equitable remedies to enforce properly-founded property, support and other financial claims and obligations arising out of their relationship:

· Action for breach of express contract (e.g., to pool earnings and hold acquisitions in accord with community property law). or alleged agreement to share property acquisitions equally and to provide "lifetime support"]

· Action on an implied contract based upon the parties' conduct (e.g., to share earnings and acquisitions or to provide support). [Marvin v. Marvin, supra, 18 Cal.3d at 677-684, 134 Cal.Rptr. at 827-831; see Friedman v. Friedman (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 876, 887-888, 24 Cal.Rptr.2d 892, 899--alleged implied agreement for support upon termination of relationship]


Your case is a very difficult one and without agreements not a great proability of success.


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Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information and no attorney client relationship has been formed. You should always contact a local attorney for legal advice.