Palimony Agreements Must Be In Writing Says N.J. Court

By February 8, 2013Divorce & Family Law

Contact our law firm if you wish to enter into a Palimony Agreement or have a Family Law issue. One of our New Jersey/New York Family Law attorneys will be happy to assist you.?

Palimony is a claim for support between unmarried persons. The N.J. Supreme Court first recognized palimony claims in the 1979 case,?Kozlowski v. Kozlowski.?To claim palimony, there must be a?broken promise of continued support. Effective January 18, 2010 the N.J. Legislature amended the “Statute of Frauds,” N.J.S.A. 25:1-5(h) to?require (1) a writing?memorializing palimony agreements, and (2) independent advice of?counsel for each party, in advance of executing any such?agreement. In other words, as of January 18, 2010, palimony agreements would not be enforceable in N.J. unless they were in writing and all parties to the agreement?consulted?with an attorney before executing the agreement.

Unfortunately, the amendment to the?Statute of Frauds did not explicitly answer the question of whether palimony?agreements ?entered into before the effective date of?the new law (January 19, 2010) were also unenforceable.?On February 4, 2013, a N.J. Appellate Court in the case?Maeker v. Ross, ruled that all?palimony?agreements must be in writing and with the advice of an attorney in order to be enforceable, irrespective of when the agreement was entered into. The Maeker case?dealt?with a woman who claimed that she entered into an oral palimony agreement in 1998 when her boyfriend made repeated promises to take care of her and provide lifetime support. From then until they broke up on July 1, 2011 she was?dependent?on her boyfriend. The court explained that if there was a palimony agreement, the two could have put it in writing to comply with the new law. It found that, “the Amendment therefore addresses under what circumstances a?promise by one party of lifetime support for another party may?be enforced, irrespective of when an agreement to provide?lifetime support may have been entered,” and ordered that her claim be dismissed.