‘Palimony’ is a commonly adopted term for the equivalent of alimony for previously cohabitating but unmarried couples in the state of Georgia. The majority of states do not recognize palimony, although a handful do, based on certain circumstances. Georgia has rejected palimony as a cause of action, giving people incentive to actually marry instead. Thus, if you are cohabitating with someone in a long-term committed relationship, but are not married, you cannot file for a claim for palimony in the state of Georgia. Not even the concept of common law marriage will help you. Georgia terminated common law marriage in 1998.
So, what do you do if you are in a long-term cohabiting relationship and, say, you’ve invested in a home in the other party’s name? Georgia does recognize the legal action of ‘unjust enrichment.’ Such an action simply requires that you state that a benefit (unrelated to sexual favors – incidental thereto is fine) was provided to the other party, and that the other party expected to, or should have expected to, compensate you for those benefits. Things such as contributing to the mortgage or improvements to the home, for example, would be measurable benefits.
Just because you are not married and palimony is not recognized in the state of Georgia does not mean that any remedy to be reimbursed or compensated for your investment in property obtained or benefits (other than sexual) given in the relationship does not exist. However, it does take an experienced attorney to identify the legal grounds to move forward.
Scott Shaw is founder and principal of Shaw Law Firm PC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm has offices in Dunwoody/Sandy Springs and serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today or call us at 770-594-8309.