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Can You Get Palimony in New Jersey? Not Without a Written Promise

In New Jersey, unmarried couples that have dated for a significant time, and separate, are probably not going to be able to collect palimony.

Palimony is court-awarded financial support from one person to another when a long-term, non-marital relationship ends. As with alimony, palimony is usually paid to a person who did not work during the relationship and depended financially on the other person, relying on express or implied promises that his or her significant other would support him or her financially for the rest of their lives. These types of claims used to be allowed in New Jersey, especially claims for a promise of lifetime support that was broken.

However, in 2010, the New Jersey legislature amended its statute of frauds, N.J.S.A. § 25:1-5, adding subsection (h). The statute now reads:

No action shall be brought upon any of the following agreements or promises, unless the agreement or promise, upon which such action shall be brought or some memorandum or note thereof, shall be in writing, and signed by the party to be charged therewith, or by some other person thereunto by him lawfully authorized:…(h) A promise by one party to a non-marital personal relationship to provide support or other consideration for the other party, either during the course of such relationship or after its termination. For the purposes of this subsection, no such written promise is binding unless it was made with the independent advice of counsel for both parties.

So now, the legislature has changed the New Jersey palimony law. Currently in New Jersey, in order to be awarded palimony, a couple must have a written agreement, that agreement must be signed by the person promising to support the other, and both people must get independent advice from an attorney about the agreement. Without all of these conditions being satisfied, a claim for palimony will fail.

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