Many people these days opt to live together instead of getting married, whether as a “trial run” for marriage itself or simply because they have no interest in getting married. Depending on your situation, this can become a potentially precarious situation for you. As of January 18, 2010 the NJ Legisture determined that palimony claims could no longer be brought by one cohabiting party against the other unless an agreement was in writing and signed by the person you want to sue for continuation of support.
So take for example, the case of Mary and John who started living together after they were each divorced from other people. Neither wanted to get remarried at that time and they each had children of their own living with them when they decided to forge a new family unit. They built a house together and raised their children together for the past 10 years. John makes a lot more money than Mary does so he pays the bulk of the household expenses and his name is the only one on the deed to the house they all live in. Things start going south when Mary finds out John is involved with someone else. Now what can she do?
Unfortunately, the Legislature said that if they did not have a signed Agreement between them regarding continuation of support, Mary gets nothing from John. This is true despite the fact that she kept a home and helped raise his children for 10 years and became financially dependent upon him in the process. John will not be required to provide any additional support. And to make matters worse, even though Mary contributed toward the construction loan for their new home, her name is not on the actual Deed. So unless John decides to do the right thing, he may not be required to give her any money on their house either.
If this scenario just does not seem “right” to you, you are probably not alone but it is the situation that many people may find themselves in today. It is worth revieiwng your personal situation with an attorney to find out what steps you can take now to protect your financial future. Posted by Elizabeth A. Calandrillo, Esq.