New Jersey Divorce Lawyers: Big Changes to Palimony Agreements

On September 25, 2014, the New Jersey Supreme Court by way of Maeker v. Ross breathed new life into palimony agreements. A palimony agreement is an agreement, oral or written, between two non-married parties living in a marital-like relationship wherein promises are made regarding the financial support or division of assets between one another. In 2010, the New Jersey legislature enacted an amendment to the Statute of Frauds requiring these promises be in writing and signed by the individuals making the promise. The issue presented in Maeker was whether this amendment applied to palimony agreements entered into before the amendment was enacted in 2010 rendering any and all oral palimony agreements invalid. We now know the answer is NO.

Prior to the amendment, under Kozlowski v. Kozlowski, 80 N.J. 378 (1979), an oral or written promise of lifetime support by one cohabitant to another in a marital-like relationship would be enforced, if one of the partners was induced to cohabit by the promise. The court held that the right to such support is found in contract principles and that the contract may be either express or implied. This principle has been upheld consistently by the Courts.

Now, as a result of Maeker, any oral promises for support made prior to 2010, do not have to be in writing to be enforced, permitting applications for enforcement. However, any promises for support made after 2010 are required under the amendment to be in writing.

Contact the New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C.

If you or someone you know has a question regarding palimony or any other divorce or family law matter, contact the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C., 908-575-9777 for a consultation. You can also fill out our online intake form.

Written by: Kristyl M. Berckes, Esq.