Palimony: Help your New Jersey relationship without a legal marriage By Adam Brown Esq. on June 30, 2023

Have you heard of Palimony? You may have seen or been part of a long-term relationship in New Jersey where an official marriage is simply not for you. People often feel that having the government designate you married is too much, and completely unnecessary for their union. Enter “palimony.” 

What is Palimony?

Palimony is compensation paid by one person to another after a marital-style relationship separates. It has been recognized in the State of New Jersey for decades and refined down to a need for the agreement to be in writing. 

A palimony agreement is enforceable between two individuals in a court of law. The agreement does not have to be fancy; it can be known only between the individuals who write it. In fact, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that attorneys are not required to have an enforceable palimony agreement. 

When we look at the many New Jersey residents who are hesitant to get married, it makes sense for more palimony agreements. Oddly, I find that these agreements are rare. A palimony case is rarely seen in our courts, likely because only a few people know they exist. Think of the couples you know. The people who prefer to co-exist without the state interfering or without mandatory rights. How likely are they to sign a binding, legal agreement? How likely will one person be willing to pay the other after the relationship ends? 

The transactional nature of this may offend you or the person you are likely thinking about. But in reality, if you are in a marital-style relationship, chances are it is transactional, even if not in law. 

The agreement may use various equitable considerations other than money, including real property, personal property, financial products, et cetera. No matter how vast the estate or balance sheets are, remember that the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that the attorney review requirement of the “Statute of Frauds” is inapplicable. This process can be totally private.

What if You Don’t Have an Agreement When You Separate or Die?

Understanding the history of palimony is essential to appreciate how far it has come and the critical nature of the writing requirement. This article will not belabor it. However, suffice it to say, there are people in our state in long-term martial type relationships who receive absolutely nothing after their partner dies or the couple is separated. There used to be a thorough process of piecing together broken promises, which is why the statute of frauds became the rule of law, requiring the promises to be in writing. 

I find it interesting how often we see in popular culture highly visible couples that are always together, live together, and essentially are extensions of one another. You may wonder why “so and so” stays with the other person. Why aren’t they married? It’s easy to conclude that one person is being taken advantage of because they are perceived as “wasting their youth.” However, when you understand palimony, non-disclosure, and enforcing agreements in a court of equity, the longevity of these unmarried couples does not surprise me. 

So, broach the issue as something you are interested in, or consult to see what you may or may not be missing out on. 

Has Marriage Become Obsolete?

In the State of New Jersey, according to “,” the average age millennials are getting married is age 33.[i] Cohabitation rates, unmarried couples living together, have increased substantially. Many speculate this is due to a rent increase instead of love. The age groups in a recent U.S. Census Bureau study varied, including 11 percent for millennials. 

Marriage involves many pressures, and it may not be right for you. For some people, a prenuptial agreement is a handy solution, and for this, I recommend you read my blog regarding prenuptial agreements in New Jersey. For others, not tying the knot is more practical at the phase of their relationship or permanently. For those who do not want the wedding cost, which is upwards of $60,000 on average in New Jersey, and tax implications, benefits, etc., drafting an agreement may be right for you. 

New Jersey Palimony Attorney

Although attorney review is not required in New Jersey, I highly recommend at least a consultation so you can understand what you may or may not be missing out on. When you speak with an attorney, learn your rights as a marital couple, and then consider how long you have been in a marital-style relationship. You may be surprised at how much you are entitled to and how easy it may be to get the same without marriage.  

Please contact A. Brown Esq. LLC or call 973-381-8453 if you or someone you know has any questions. 

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Law Offices of Adam C Brown Esq. PC

Law Offices of
Adam C Brown Esq. PC

Law Offices of Adam C Brown Esq. PC is a dynamic regional law firm practicing family and bankruptcy law throughout the state of New Jersey. Our professional affiliations include:

  • New Jersey State Bar
  • Garden State Bar Association
  • Hudson County Bar Association
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys

You can request a consultation online or by calling (973) 281-2388.

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