Palimony is financial support awarded from one unmarried person to another after their long-term relationship ends. Historically, the state of New Jersey did not legally recognize couples living together and performing the role of husband and wife as equal to a married couple. This arrangement is referred to as “common law marriage.” However, the state abolished the law in 1939.
Despite the fact unmarried couples are without the same protection as married couples, courts often determine that an unmarried person has a right to receive support from their former partner.
No laws currently dictate whether support must be provided from one unmarried person to another in the event they separate. Despite the fact unmarried couples are without the same protections as married couples, courts have determined in many cases that an unmarried person has a right to receive support from their former partner.
Challenges in Collecting Palimony and Obtaining Settlements
The Statute of Frauds, N.J.S.A. 25:1-5 presents some difficulties for those seeking to collect palimony and obtain settlements. The statute mandates that the person promising to financially support their partner must sign an agreement stating so. Further, the agreement is not legally binding unless both parties have received independent council. There is no guarantee that the person providing support for their partner will be willing to commit to this in writing. Additionally, uncertainty exists because no written laws are in place to cover the subject.
A number of factors are often considered when awarding palimony, such as:
- Length of Commitment – Cases decided to this point suggest that the plaintiff and defendant must have lived together for a substantial period of time for palimony to be awarded. Usually, this includes a period of at least 15 years.
- Promise – One partner will typically have made a promise to the other to support them financially for the rest of their life.
- Work – Sometimes partners enter a relationship financially independent, however, an agreement is made that one partner will work while the other assumes household responsibilities, personal care, or even provide professional assistance with a business endeavor.
Why You Need Experienced Legal Counsel
Proving a palimony case can be challenging. Past cases are our only real window into how the subject is viewed from a legal standpoint. History suggests, for example, that you cannot receive financial support because your partner did not follow through on a marriage proposal. Past cases also suggest that in order to receive financial support, you cannot simply base your request on a claim that your partner has a duty to support you. For these reasons, you need a palimony attorney with intimate knowledge of past court cases and the precedents they set.
Protect Your Future
If you are ending a long-term relationship in which you are financially dependent on your partner, Jeffrey Goldblatt may be able to help. Visit us online today or call (732) 238-8700 to learn more about our palimony services.