Earlier this year, the New Jersey legislature declared palimony agreements as unenforceable unless put in writing and signed. This new law also requires both parties to receive independent legal advice before the agreement can become binding. Once signed into effect, the law thus closed a loophole which previously allowed palimony claims even when unmarried couple never “cohabitated” or “promise of support” was oral and not written.
Since the new law became effective, courts have struggled in determining whether the statute is retroactive. Since this issue has now been raised on appeal, looks like we may receive some guidance on this subject shortly.
Palimony is a type of support available to non-married parties upon the break-up of the relationship. It must be noted, however, that a court will only award palimony when a party seeking it can prove that the other party has agreed to provide financial support in exchange for a marital-style relationship. Unlike alimony, which is based upon marital obligation, palimony is based on a contract to provide support.
If you are living with someone but you are not married, you have given up educational or employment opportunities while raising children or maintaining home for your partner, and your partner has promised to provide for you, even in the event of split or his/her death – put that agreement in writing! Be specific, list all terms like what kind of support is being promised to you and what it is that you are promising to do in exchange. (Be careful here, because courts do not look favorably at financial gain in exchange for sexual favors as that starts to resemble prostitution.) Each person should get his/her own attorney to review the agreement. Last, but not least, the agreement needs to be signed by both partners.