New Law Requires Palimony Agreements to Be in Writing
This law is intended to overturn recent "palimony" decisions by New Jersey courts by requiring that any such contract must be in writing and signed by the person making the promise. More specifically, the law provides that 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, is not binding unless it is in writing and signed. The law provides that no such written promise is binding unless it was made with the independent advice of counsel for both parties.
In two recent cases, Devaney v. LEsperance, 195 N.J. 247 (2008) and In re Estate of Roccamonte, 174 N.J. 381 (2002), the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld palimony agreements between two unmarried cohabitants. In the Devaney case the court held that "cohabitation is not an essential requirement for a cause of action for palimony, but a marital-type relationship is required." In the Roccamonte case, the court held that an implied promise of support for life is enforceable against the promisors (cohabitants) estate. Those decisions are consistent with the courts prior decision in Kozlowski v. Kozlowski, 80 N.J. 378 (1979), which had held that a 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.