Palimony Attorneys Morris County, NJ
Serving Unmarried Couples and Individuals across Chatham, Chester, Mendham, Morristown, Harding, and Morris County
Palimony is essentially alimony, but for cohabiting couples who are not married. Palimony is not actually a historical, legal term, but was instead coined after a famous 1977 celebrity breakup, and is an amalgamation of the words “pal” and “alimony”. In New Jersey, palimony is not as easily awarded as alimony, as cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples. So when is palimony awarded?
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law and divorce attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience helping our clients understand their legal rights both when signing palimony agreements as well as enforcing or contesting their terms in New Jersey. We will work with you on an individual level to see how we can best serve your needs when it comes to drafting, modifying, validating, and anything else to do with alimony agreements.
Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your palimony or other legal needs and concerns.
What Entitles Unmarried Couples to Palimony in New Jersey?
Chatham, NJ Unmarried Couples Attorneys
In order to be eligible for palimony in New Jersey, the following must be true. Note that palimony agreements are agreements written before a non-marital separation which is a plan for future palimony payments.
- The couple must live together
- The couple must be unmarried
- There must be an existing palimony agreement, cohabitation agreement, non-marital agreement, or other signed document which makes a promise to provide financial support
- Both parties signed the aforementioned agreement under the advisement of independent legal counsel (separate attorneys)
The palimony statutes are very clear that all of these conditions must be met, and the individual who would by the payor must have signed the documents in good faith and not under duress or coercion. If you believe you may be eligible to palimony or owe palimony, contact our family law team today to discuss your unique case.
What is the Difference Between a Cohabitation Agreement and a Palimony Agreement?
Cohabitation agreements or non-marital agreements are common for unmarried couples who have lived or plan on living together for a long period of time and depend on one another financially and otherwise. They may grant rights which are usually reserved for married couples, including but not limited to granting power of attorney, granting decision making power in the event of a medical emergency, and adding an unmarried partner onto one’s health insurance policy.
Palimony agreements are much more limited in scope and primarily deal with the financial considerations of an unmarried couple in the case of a separation. There are cases when property division can also come into play if promises to provide property were included in the written palimony agreement. Without such agreements, unmarried couples have no additional legal rights and property and/or finances would default to the legal owner.
Palimony agreements do hold power if the couple later becomes married as well. For example, let’s say an unmarried couple has a palimony which explicitly states that a 401(k) is to be split equally between the partners in the case of separation. That couple becomes married, the 401(k) appreciates for the duration of the marriage, and the couple divorces 10 years later. In the divorce proceedings, the benefactor of the palimony agreement which stated a 50/50 split can legally and rightfully claim that the palimony will still entitle him or her to their full share, and not just the 10 years worth of appreciation during the marriage which would otherwise be awarded.
Do I Have a Case if Our Palimony Agreement was Verbal Only?
The laws we have discussed above concerning procuring written agreements was enacted in 2010. If your verbal cohabitation or palimony understanding took place after that date, you do not have the legal recourse to pursue any further action. After that date, all palimony agreements must be in writing in order to be enforceable.
For example, in 2013, Everly Maeker was successfully granted palimony based on a verbal agreement made between she and her partner William Ross which was made previous to 2010. The couple was separated in 2011, but the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled in Maeker v. Ross that she was still entitled to the promised palimony with the understanding that “couples entering into oral palimony agreements…did not have to anticipate that the Legislature might, in the indefinite future, impose writing and counsel requirements that would invalidate their agreements.”
In other words, in disputes dating back prior to 2010, it may be possible to enforce a verbal agreement. Any agreements made after that date must be in writing as per the standards we listed above.
Contact Our Morris County Palimony Agreement Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience serving clients across Morris County with their legal concerns pertaining to palimony, cohabitation agreements, and non-marital agreements. We take each case on an individual basis, and work with and for our clients to understand what would be the most beneficial outcome for them and their families.
To speak with our legal team in a free and confidential consultation regarding your needs as an unmarried couple, and the creation, modification, or enforcement of a cohabitation agreement, please contact us online, or through our Morris County office at (973) 840-8970.