Palimony in Minnesota

Posted on Sunday, February 25th, 2018 by Marc Beyer and is filed under Minnesota,  Palimony,  Spousal Maintenance.

NBA star Blake Griffin made the news recently. And not because he was traded to the Detroit Pistons.

No, he was sued by his ex-fiancé for what is often referred to as “palimony.” It’s the same concept as alimony (spousal maintenance in Minnesota), except that the parties aren’t married. Hence “palimony” and not “alimony.” You get the idea.

Anyway, we have law on this in Minnesota. It’s called the “anti-palimony” statutes and can be found at Minnesota Statutes Sections 513.075 and 513.076. They provide that “if sexual relations between the parties are contemplated, a contract between a man and a woman who are living together in this state out of wedlock …is enforceable as to terms concerning the property and financial relations of the parties only if: (1) the contract is written and signed by the parties; and (2) enforcement is sought after termination of the relationship.”

Further, without such a written contract, the courts in the State of Minnesota are without jurisdiction “and shall dismiss as contrary to public policy any claim by an individual to the earnings or property of another if the claim is based upon the fact that the individuals lived together in contemplation of sexual relations and out of wedlock…”

These statutes are consistent with the notion that Minnesota does not recognize common law marriages. In other words, if you are in a romantic relationship with another person, and want to receive what we would call “alimony” if the parties were married, then you better be married to this person to recover under such a theory. If you’re not married, then the law
requires a written contract.

As a practical matter, no one has these written contracts. The idea of the anti-palimony statutes is that as a matter of public policy, we do not want people living together out of wedlock but still treating them as if they are married. If you’re not married, then you can’t get what otherwise looks like alimony.

In Blake Griffin’s case, he and his ex-fiancé have children, so she can certainly collect child support. And, to the extent that she has any other legally recognized theories for recovery against him, she can bring those too (if she ever invested any of her own money in his house, for example, she could seek to recover this). But, in Minnesota, without a written contract, Blake Griffin’s fiancé could not recover anything from him simply based upon the fact that they were in a romantic relationship for a period of time (i.e. living together in contemplation of sexual relations) and now they are broken up. Had they been married, she would likely receive alimony, but the law does not recognize straight “palimony” in Minnesota.

So, if you want to get paid as a dependent spouse would following the dissolution of a marriage, you in fact need to be married, or else have a written contract which otherwise allows you to collect “palimony.”

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If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.