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Palimony Claims Under NJ Laws

Palimony Claims Under NJ Laws

Palimony is not determined by when the contract is made but rather when the claim is made. If you think you or someone you love is cared for under a palimony agreement, you should be aware of changes that have taken place in the law and how they affect any agreement you may have. In 2010, the law regarding palimony agreements changed to require a written agreement entered into with the assistance of counsel. Since that time, many individuals have attempted to enforce palimony agreements which came into existence prior to the effective date of the new requirements. In Maeker v. Ross, the NJ Appellate Division held that the palimony claim does not arise until the breach of the agreement or death of the promissor, it is the date on which the claim to enforce the agreement is filed which controls the validity of the agreement. In Maeker v. Ross, Maeker did not work during the parties 13 year relationship. Ross supported her, paid for her son’s college education, kept her in a luxurious lifestyle by typical standards and allegedly promised her lifetime support. Maeker had power of attorney over Ross’ affairs and both executrix and primary beneficiary under his will. Due to the timing of the parties’ breakup, on or about July 2011, the Somerset County Superior Court Judge Thomas Miller decided the Legislature did not express a clear intent to terminate actions which arose in close proximity to the law’s effective date. Miller reasoned that inequity would arise by the release of someone making a promise 30 years ago by a statutory change today. The Appellate Division disagreed with Miller, holding a palimony agreement to be a contract like any other and subject to interpretation on the same basis. The Appellate Division found Ross and Maeker had an 18 month period from the enactment of the law to the filing of the complaint to enter into an agreement enforceable under the new statute. Although Ross and Maeker did originally have the intent to enter into such an agreement based on their actions and lifestyle, at the time the requirements changed for a valid palimony agreement changed, the parties’ relationship had clearly deteriorated to the point it is probable Ross would not have entered into an agreement under the terms of the current law. If you think you or someone you love is cared for under a palimony agreement or entering into a palimony agreement, you should consult experienced legal counsel to insure your rights are protected. For more information regarding palimony, alimony, child support or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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