Ex-spouses have extraordinary judicial remedies to collect past-due alimony. Courts can use equitable remedies, including civil contempt and administration of otherwise exempt assets, to collect alimony. Alimony debts may not be discharged in bankruptcy. A person hired me to help protect against a possible claim by an ex-girlfriend in New Jersey judgment based upon theory of “palimony.” Can palimony judgments be enforced like alimony judgments?
Although Florida does not recognize palimony claims the Florida courts would enforce a foreign judgment based upon palimony where the foreign state recognized such causes of action. Florida will enforce judgments entered in another state.
Florida would not use equitable enforcement remedies available to alimony claimants to enforce a palimony judgment. New Jersey recognizes palimony as a breach of contract between unrelated people. Neither New Jersey or Florida has a public policy to empower the collection of palimony. The special remedies used to collect alimony and child support, and their non-dischargeability in bankruptcy, reflect a public policy to protect members of the debtor’s immediate family who depend upon him or her for basic support. No such family tie exists between unmarried palimony parties, and there is no public policy protecting unmarried people who live together outside of marriage. Palimony is treated legally just like any other voluntary contractual relationship. The only thing is common between alimony and palimony are the letters included in both words.
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