If a couple is not married, there will be no alimony payments when the relationship ends. But what about palimony payments?

Many people assume that palimony is the spousal support a wife gives a husband after a divorce. This is not the legal definition of the word. Palimony is the payment or support given by either party when an unmarried couple breaks up.

Today more and more couples live together prior to marriage, testing compatibility or thinking they will eventually marry. When there is no written agreement regarding assets and responsibilities and the couple separates, they may end up in court.

For example, if one person claims that there was an understanding that she would stay home and care for the children or that he would leave his career and work to promote her business venture, there may be a case for palimony.

For a clear understanding of what will happen if the relationship goes sour, palimony contracts-like prenuptial agreements-are a good idea, particularly when there are assets or children involved.

If you are in an unmarried, but committed relationship and have concerns about what will happen should the relationship dissolve, it’s worthwhile to contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your situation and your options.