Alimony is a court-ordered payment or an agreed payment arrangement between divorced or separated couples whereby one party provides a regularly scheduled payment to the other. Usually the party who pays the other was the working partner or the one who provided most of the family’s financial support. The other partner is awarded alimony, or maintenance as it is commonly called, as a way of recognizing his or her contribution to the relationship. Alimony can be temporary, permanent or paid in one lump sum.
Palimony is the same as alimony, only the partners were not legally married but their relationship was the same as marriage in all other respects. Many states do not allow for equitable distribution if the parties were unmarried. Most palimony suits end up as lump-sum payments.
Among the factors that establish the amount of alimony or palimony are the extent of each party’s earning capacity, the contribution of the supported partner to the supporting party’s education, the duration of the relationship and each party’s age and health, standard of living, debts and assets, and hardships.
Because celebrities usually have accumulated great wealth, have enormous earning capacity or own a tremendous amount of assets, their alimony or palimony cases typically result in very large awards or settlements.
Jim Nantz, a well-known CBS sportscaster, divorced his wife of 26 years in 2009 and was ordered by a judge to pay his ex-wife $72,000 in alimony each month until she remarries or he dies. He also had to pay an additional $1,000 per week in child support for the following two years.
In a well-publicized palimony suit from 1982, Scott Thorson sued his former partner, Liberace, for $113 million, alleging that the flamboyant star had made financial promises to him that were not being kept after their breakup. The pair eventually settled with Liberace paying his former mate only $95,000. In 2008, Thorson was arrested and pleaded guilty to drug and burglary charges and sentenced to four years in prison.
Hulk Hogan, former wrestler and entertainer, divorced his wife of 24 years in 2007. They reportedly had between $26 million and $32 million in assets including a mansion in Bel Air, Fla., and another that was being built in Las Vegas. He was eventually ordered to pay her $40,000 per month. He has since sought to reduce his alimony payments, alleging his ex-wife was spending the money on illegal drugs.