PALIMONY, a term derived from alimony, is legal action upholding oral agreements to share property and earnings acquired while an unmarried couple shared an abode. In 1976 Michelle Triola Marvin sued the actor Lee Marvin, claiming she abandoned her singing career to serve as his companion, cook, and confidante and that, in return, he agreed to share his earnings. She sued Marvin for close to $2 million for "services" as his "wife" and for loss of her career under the theory that the couple had an oral contract. She won $104,000. The legal basis of palimony suits where states allow them is an oral contract for services, other than sexual, provided during cohabitation.
DiFonzo, J. Herbie. Beneath the Fault Line. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997.
pal·i·mo·ny / ˈpaləˌmōnē/ • n. inf. compensation made by one member of an unmarried couple to the other after separation.