Palimony: Did You Get It In Writing?
When couples live together and there is a promise to financially support each other, must that promise of support be reduced to writing to be enforceable and valid? In New Jersey the answer to this question is it depends!
The promise to support a significant other whom you are not married to is referred to as Palimony. The New Jersey Legislature enacted N.J.S.A. 25:1-5 in 2010 requiring palimony agreements be in writing to be enforceable. The legislation also requires both parties to the agreement to have the assistance of counsel. Prior to enacting this legislation, the New Jersey Court enforced palimony agreements regardless if they were in writing if certain criteria were met. Kozlowski v. Kozlowski, 80 N.J. 378 (1979).
The change in law has resulted in litigation concerning oral agreements entered into before the law took effect. The issue raised in a recent Supreme Court decision, Maeker v. Ross, is whether an oral agreement to support a partner prior to the enactment of N.J.S.A. 25:1-5 is enforceable. In other words, does the requirement that palimony agreements be in writing apply retro-actively? In a narrowly tailored decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court held N.J.S.A. 25:1-5 does not apply retroactively to bar oral palimony agreements that were entered into prior to the enactment of the law.
If you need assistance navigating palimony, you should speak to a legal professional. Our firm can assist you with this important issue, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our family lawyers.