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Encyclopedia > Palimony

Palimony is a slang term coined by attorney Marvin Mitchelson in 1977 when his client Michelle Marvin (the former Michelle Triola) filed an unsuccessful suit against actor Lee Marvin. The term is a portmanteau of pal and alimony. Mitchelson, who often handled celebrity divorces, created the term as a media soundbite to publicize the Marvin case. See Marvin v. Marvin, 18 Cal. 3d 660 (1976)[1]. Marvin Mitchelson (May 7, 1928 - September 18, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California) was a high-powered celebrity lawyer who pioneered the concept of palimony, calling it marriage with no rings attached. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Lee Marvin, (February 19, 1924 - August 29, 1987) was an American film actor. ... Lee Marvin, (February 19, 1924 – August 29, 1987) was an American film actor. ... Look up Portmanteau word in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In many countries alimony, maintenance or spousal support is an obligation established by law that is based on the premise that both spouses have an absolute obligation to support each other during the marriage (or civil union) unless they are legally separated, though in some instances the obligation to support... Court citation is a standard system used in common law countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters. ...


Michelle Marvin claimed that Lee Marvin, who was still married at the time they began living together, had promised to support her for the rest of her life. In the end, in Marvin v. Marvin, the California Supreme Court ruled that Michelle Marvin had not proven the existence of a contract between herself and Mr. Marvin that gave her an interest in his property. Thus, the common law rule applied to the situation without alteration, and she took away from the relationship and the household what she brought to it. The Supreme Court of California is the state supreme court in California. ...


The Court went on to explain that, while the state abolished common law marriage in 1896, California law does recognize non-marital relationship contracts. These contracts may be express or implied, oral or written - but they must be provable in any case. The contract may also provide for a sexual relationship, so long as it is not a contract for sexual services.


Despite the quasi-divorce proceeding suggested by the word, "palimony" is not a legal term and has never been used by the California Supreme Court. The legal term, at least in California, is "non-marital relationship contract." Because the relationship is non-marital, the family court has no jurisdiction over it. Disputes about contract terms, and civil suits to enforce them, are heard in the general trial courts (in California, called "superior court"). A family court is a court convened in the UK to make orders in respect of childrens residence. ...


Non-marital relationship contracts (or "palimony agreements," to use the slang) are not limited to two people, and because they are non-marital any party to a non-marital relationship contract can also be party to a marriage.


In addition to those who form an express, written contract to ensure the property interests they have contracted in each other are enforceable, some people draft an express, written contract that specifies they have not contracted for any interest in the other party's(-ies') property.


Further Information

For an excellent discussion of non-marital relationship contracts, see the Family Law and Contracts volumes of California Jurisprudence 3d (West).


Notable cases

  • Lee Marvin, as described above. (1977)
  • In 1982, famous pianist Liberace was sued for US$113,000,000 in palimony by his live-in boyfriend Scott Thorson (though Liberace denied being homosexual). Most of Thorson's claim was dismissed, but he did receive a settlement of US$95,000.
  • Following Rock Hudson's 1985 death from AIDS, his live-in lover, Marc Christian, filed a palimony lawsuit against his estate and won.
  • In 1996, Van Cliburn was sued by his former assistant, Thomas Zaremba, for a share of his wealth following a 17-year relationship during which Zaremba helped maintain Cliburn's household. Dismissed for lack of written agreement. Zaremba also accused Cliburn in the suit of subjecting him to the fear of AIDS through Cliburn's alleged unprotected liaisons with third parties. The emotional distress claim was also dismissed. [2] [3]
  • Brian Orser, homosexual Canadian figure skater (1998)
  • In 2004, Bill Maher was sued for 9 million dollars by his ex-girlfriend, Nancy Johnson a.k.a. "Coco Johnsen", for palimony. On May 2, 2005, a superior court judge dismissed the lawsuit.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Palimony - definition of Palimony in Encyclopedia (385 words)
Palimony is a slang term referring to a court judgment for property or support in a lawsuit between unmarried cohabitants.
However, in most jurisdictions, palimony cases are civil suits, which means that they are not heard in family courts and are not subject to family law.
Palimony developed as a branch of contract law and palimony claims usually allege that there was an oral or implied contract by which one party promised to support or share property with the other.
Palimony - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (543 words)
Palimony is a slang term coined by attorney Marvin Mitchelson in 1977 when his client Michelle Marvin (the former Michelle Triola) filed an unsuccessful suit against actor Lee Marvin.
Despite the quasi-divorce proceeding suggested by the word, "palimony" is not a legal term and has never been used by the California Supreme Court.
Non-marital relationship contracts (or "palimony agreements," to use the slang) are not limited to two people, and because they are non-marital any party to a non-marital relationship contract can also be party to a marriage.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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