Am I Entitled to Severance Pay or Palimony for Caretaker Duties?
Generally, unmarried cohabitants do not enjoy the same rights as married individuals, particularly with respect to property acquired during a relationship. Marital property laws and other family laws related to marriage do not apply to unmarried couples, even in long-term relationships. The characterization of property acquired by unmarried cohabitants is less clear than that of married couples whose ownership of property is governed by marital and community property laws. Some property acquired by unmarried couples may be owned jointly, but it may be difficult to divide such property when the relationship ends.
Cohabitation alone does not create any type of support obligation between the parties, but such obligation may come from cohabitation agreements. Written cohabitation agreements usually involve financial and property arrangements. Parties can provide arrangements analogous to community or marital property laws or can provide other arrangements that are more favorable to the couple. States will generally recognize contracts between parties who cohabitate if the contract is not based on sexual services.
Severance packages allow an employee to be offered some extended pay or benefits and a good reference in exchange for departure. In turn, the ex-employee typically agrees not to sue, file for unemployment, or take any other action that would hurt the employer. The employment contract with the employer, under general contract law principles, will govern any entitlement to severance pay.