New Jersey palimony statute does not void agreements that were made before 2010. New Jersey’s law on palimony, which requires contracts between unwed partners to be in writing, does not apply to oral agreements forged prior to enactment of the 2010 law, the State Supreme Court has held.

The 2010 palimony law, N.J.S.A. 25:1-5, amended the Statute of Frauds.  The Legislation added palimony to the list of contracts that are unenforceable if not in writing, and provided that even written palimony agreements are void if not executed with the assistance of counsel for both sides.  

The Legislature did not clearly indicate it meant to extinguish existing palimony claims, pointing out that the law took effect the day it was signed, without a grace period.

Brian Schwartz of Summit, New Jersey, former chair of the NJSBA’s family law section and argued the case before the court, said in a statement: “This rule of law protects the citizens of New Jersey who entered into these agreements, and lived by its terms accordingly, despite the lack of a writing.   The court still places the burden upon the party seeking enforcement to meet his or her proofs, but nonetheless preserves the right to have the opportunity to do so in court.”

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