Tag: spousal support
Not Mandatory but Highly Advisable to Have Legal Counsel for Your Palimony Case
A Skilled Lawyer from Our Legal Team Can Help you Deal With the Financial Aspects of Ending a Long-term Relationship.
If you are living with a long-term partner, but are unmarried, and thinking about the future, you may have heard of the term “palimony”. Palimony is not an official legal term, but it refers to monetary support that is paid by one partner in a long-term, unmarried relationship to the other partner during their relationship or after the relationship ends.
While “palimony” gets its name from a play on the word “alimony”, it is fundamentally different from alimony in several ways. New Jersey law has also changed in the last decade in respect to the legal requirements surrounding palimony agreements.
In this article, we will explore the basics and nuances of New Jersey law on palimony, so you can make an informed decision about whether it might be the right option for you and your partner, and why having a lawyer handling your agreement can be extremely advantageous for preserving your interests in the future.
Understanding Palimony and its Legal Conditions in New Jersey
The term “palimony” refers to a contractual agreement by two long-term domestic partners for support payments and property division between the partners during the relationship or if and when the relationship ends. It can be thought of as a kind of prenuptial agreement between two people; only they are unmarried.
Under New Jersey law, unmarried, cohabitating people do not have the same legal rights as those who are married or in a civil union. Whereas, in a divorce proceeding of a married couple, a spouse may ask the court to award them alimony or spousal support from the higher income earning spouse, unmarried couples do not have a legal right to financial support after the end of their relationship without an enforceable, contractual agreement.
Prior to 2010, this agreement, known colloquially as a palimony agreement, could be written or oral. However, in 2010, the New Jersey Legislature amended the state’s Statute of Frauds to include palimony agreements. The Statute of Frauds lists the type of contracts that must be in writing to be enforceable. When including palimony as one of those types of agreements, the Legislature also set forth certain additional conditions of a valid and enforceable palimony agreement.
Under the amended law, agreements between non-marital partners for financial support and other consideration during or after the end of the relationship could no longer be oral. The law required that these agreements be in writing, signed by the party in which it will be enforced against, and that each party receive independent legal counsel when entering into the agreement. However, the last requirement for independent legal counsel has since been removed by the New Jersey Supreme Court. This change is discussed in further detail below.
Written vs Oral Palimony Application Retroactively
The New Jersey Supreme Court held in Maeker v. Ross that the amended Statute of Frauds, requiring palimony agreements to be in writing, does not apply retroactively to oral palimony agreements that were entered into before 2010, when New Jersey recognized oral palimony agreements as enforceable.
In Maeker v. Ross, a couple that had cohabitated for many years and entered into an oral palimony agreement prior to the change in law in 2010 separated in 2011. The court enforced the oral palimony agreement, finding that the couple was not required to anticipate that the Legislature might later require that such agreements be in writing. Therefore, the court found that the writing requirement did not apply retroactively to agreements created before the law was amended.
Is a Lawyer’s Participation Mandatory for a Valid Palimony Agreement in NJ?
While it is still wise to seek the advice of a lawyer prior to entering into a palimony agreement, whether you are the party who will be providing or receiving support, a lawyer is not required to approve a palimony agreement based on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling in Moynihan v. Lynch.
In this case, the court found that the requirement for each party to have independent legal counsel violated the parties constitutional rights to enter into an agreement. Furthermore, the court noted that no other contractual agreement legally required the advice of counsel in order to be enforceable.
Benefits of Having an Experienced Palimony Lawyer on Your Side
Even though you are not required to have an attorney help you execute a palimony agreement, retaining legal counsel to draft or review your agreement can help you to ensure that the terms of the palimony agreement will protect you. If you are the party who may potentially provide support to your current or then-former partner, it is important to make sure that the terms of the agreement are ones that you can realistically fulfill and will not be harmful to your other legal and financial interests.
If you are the party who may be receiving support pursuant to a palimony agreement, you must understand the implications of the agreement you are signing and its potential impact on your financial choices before it is ever enforced. If you are in a long term, cohabitation relationship, it is important to think about and plan for the future needs of each partner. Contact our team of skilled and experienced attorneys today to discuss how we can assist with all aspects of your palimony case.
Contact Our Palimony Lawyers to Ensure Your Interests are Preserved in Toms River, NJ
As cohabitation has grown in popularity, it has raised a variety of problems about spousal support. Palimony is still a developing legal term, but a proactive divorce lawyer from our firm will be able to demonstrate its relevance. When you’re in a relationship that could lead to palimony after the relationship ends—whether or not you have a written commitment of support—it’s crucial to speak with an attorney to learn about the laws surrounding palimony.
If you or a loved one has been in a long-term relationship in New Jersey without being legally married and is seeking or agreeing to palimony after the relationship ends, you should contact the attorneys at The Bronzino Law Firm. We serve areas such as Little Egg Harbor, Barnegat, Rumson, Lacey, Colts Neck, Long Beach Township, and Eatontown in Monmouth and Ocean Counties and South New Jersey. Call (732) 812-3102 or contact us online for a free consultation to discuss your personal circumstances and how our firm can help.
The Future of Family Law Post COVID-19 Pandemic
We strive to deliver the highest level of service, support, and legal guidance in every case we handle while maintaining a safe environment for our staff and our clients.
The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed personal lives in significantly unprecedented ways, either forcing families to live and work closer together or further apart from those they love and members of their work or social community. Lockdown mandates and school closures have increased the pressures of working from home, feelings of social isolation, and in some cases resulted in a rise in domestic violence and sexual abuse, all told reducing the line between work and family life. Navigating this new world even means exploring uncharted and unexpected family and co-parenting territories, many of which may aggravate existing tensions and inevitably put families under more strain, as well as marital relationships to the test.
Even the most mundane discussions between co-parents about play dates or handling parenting time handoffs may seem like matters of life and death, not to mention how to address alimony or spousal support during a lockdown can seem unresolvable.
Whether you need legal advice regarding separation, initiating the divorce process, post-decree modification of child custody, or spousal support, there are safe alternative dispute mechanisms and collaborative practices available to you. For more than 50 years the experienced family attorneys of Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, have been protecting the interests of our clients and can guide you through the process with peace of mind and confidence that your family is in the best hands.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to firm or call us at (732) 812-3102.
3 Ways COVID-19 Has Impacted the Future of Family Law in New Jersey
To support families in need of guidance, experienced family law attorneys have been able to adapt and personalize the type of services they offer, advocate for safe client-friendly alternatives to the courtroom, and provide cost-effective services and sustainable solutions in the best interests of the children. While there is no way to predict things how legal services will be post-vaccine and the implementation of various measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, law firms that offer practical technological solutions such as remote meetings and alternative dispute resolutions, in addition to guidance on current issues (while reminding parties that they will need a post-pandemic plan as well), posses the essential elements when contemplating the future of family law once a sense of normalcy returns.
Divorce Lawyers Will Be Busier Than Usual in West Long Branch, NJ
The post-holiday months of January to March, typically known as the “divorce season” for the increase in divorce filings, has seen a super-charged effect due to the impact the pandemic has had on family relationships and spending, and pushing many spouses to their breaking point and seek a fresh start. So it is only practical that family lawyers will need to take the social and financial stresses most people are facing during this time into account, and how these factors may affect settlements and outcomes.
Increased Virtual Legal Services Expediting Divorce & Child Custody Processes
Being forced to work virtually (meetings, classrooms, doctor visits) has gotten many individuals comfortable with the idea of resolving their divorce and child custody matters remotely. Our firm is conducting more client meetings, mediations, and hearings virtually (phone or videoconference) than ever have before, and providing clients access to knowledgable legal advice while in the comfort of their home, or car, and without the need to take time off work or find childcare to resolve minor issues that may take less than an hour.
Our attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm, LLC accommodate our clients in the safest and most effective way possible while providing an intricate review of your documents and striving to deliver the high level of legal counsel our clients have come to expect.
So while we offer remote family law services, we also provide fast-track options to resolve urgent matters such as those related to domestic violence restraining orders; which are designed to safeguard your wellbeing and protect any minor children or other vulnerable members of your household.
Visit us at our conveniently located Office
The pandemic forced family law attorneys to change, allowing them to provide better services and save clients time and money. After things post-pandemic life calms down, don’t expect THAT to change.
If you reside in Toms River, Point Pleasant, Wall, Jackson, and the surrounding areas, contact our office today to discuss your case.
Can I request payment of attorney’s fees due to unpaid alimony or child support?
Assisting clients facing alimony or child support related issues in Brick, Sea Girt, Wall, Toms River, Spring Lake, Manasquan, and across Monmouth and Ocean County
New Jersey Statute 2A:34-23(b) outlines clearly when alimony will be awarded to an ex-spouse. Both child support and spousal support, alimony, are usually contentious issues. However, New Jersey family law courts try to be as fair as possible when addressing these topics. Despite this, it is not uncommon for these orders to not be fully complied with by the paying spouse. In such cases, it may be necessary to bring this failure before the court in order to seek a remedy. Those who find themselves in this situation often wonder if they can include the cost of the attorney fees incurred while seeking the enforcement of an existing order as part of the judgment. In short, yes you can.
Known as a motion to enforce litigant’s rights and is an application to the court for the purpose of getting the court to issue an order requiring the other party to comply with a previous order. In order to do this, you must have already obtained a judgment against the other party, and you must have proof that the other party failed to comply with the terms of the order.
Steps to take after obtaining a judgment requiring another party to comply with the previous order…
Notice of motion to enforce litigant’s rights
- First, you must fill out a notice of motion to enforce litigant’s rights as well as a certification in support of the same motion. You must also partially fill out an order to enforce litigant’s rights for the judge approve, and make 3 copies of all the completed forms.
Mail the originals to the court
- Next, you will need to mail the originals to the court with a $25 filing fee. You will then receive a motion date and time.
Wait ten days for a response
- Once you have received a signed order to enforce litigant’s rights you must wait ten days, and if the other party still does not comply with the order, you will be within your rights to obtain a warrant for arrest.
Tomasso-Addeo v. Addeo awarded attorneys fees in 2014
In the case of Tomasso-Addeo v. Addeo, the Family Part court of Somerset County conducted an oral argument on September 26, 2014. In this case, the wife was seeking enforcement of an existing alimony and child support arrangement as well as legal fees associated with the enforcement. After oral argument, the Family Part court issued an order that required the husband to compensate the wife for counsel fees in the amount of $3,445. The Family Part had found that the husband had violated his ex-wife’s rights by failing to abide by his support obligations as agreed to in the marital settlement agreement. Moreover, the motion judge found that he had generally failed to pay his support obligations on time and was often delinquent in his spousal support debt. He had also refused to communicate with his ex-wife and owed her other costs as well. In a detailed written statement of reasons, the motion judge explained his decision and included why he also awarded attorney’s fees to the ex-wife. The court found in the ex-wife’s favor and was subsequently held up on appeal.
Addressing unpaid child support or alimony early, before it becomes a problem…
Nonpayment of alimony or child support is no small matter. Given that the purpose of these funds is to allow both you and your children to maintain a standard of living that you have become accustomed to during your marriage. Though there are many legal remedies at your disposal it is best not to allow it to get to that point.
Communication with your ex is critical. If payment is nonexistent or late you should know why as soon as possible. Some reasons may be loss of a job, poor health, financial hardship or they simply may have forgotten. Whatever the reason you should know what is going on as soon as possible. It is not advisable to wait for months before you have information. The sooner you know what is going on the sooner you can take action if necessary.
Should your spouse fail to communicate with you or provide you with a valid legal reason as well as fails to pay then contact your attorney in order to learn what you should do next is advisable.
Contact a Brick and Sea Girt Alimony and Support Lawyer To Enforce a Court Order
At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience helping our clients in Point Pleasant, Sea Girt, Toms River, Brick, Wall, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas with all family law matters.
Our approach focuses on finding solutions that ensure the stability and resources needed to protect our client’s futures and the futures of their children.
To speak with our firm today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment, please connect with our firm today visiting our online form or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.
Premarital Agreement Attorneys in Ocean and Monmouth County
Serving Clients in towns including Asbury Park, Wall, Toms River, Brick, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Neptune, Spring Lake, Brielle, and more
Before a couple marries, they have the option of signing a premarital agreement, which is a written contract that explains each party’s rights and obligations in the marriage. The year 1988 saw several states, including New Jersey, pass the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act for the purpose of governing the laws of Prenuptial Agreements (also known as “prenups”). Since that time the number of prenups drafted has increased at a steady rate.
However, there are many pitfalls that many couples fall victim to when it comes to prenuptial agreements. It is critical that before anyone enters into any prenuptial agreement that they have good experienced legal counsel. This will go a long way to assuring that the agreement represents your needs and what you want. It will also make sure that the agreement is enforceable.
In short, a prenup is an agreement between potential spouses made in consideration of marriage and effective upon the marriage itself. The subject matters that are addressed in a prenup vary from agreement to agreement and are often as unique as every marriage. However, commonly the agreement will include provisions for division of property as well as child/spousal support in the event of a divorce. The purpose of a prenup is to ensure that whatever assets you enter the marriage with you also leave the marriage with as well as avoiding the problems that a messy and contentious divorce can cause.
What aspects need to be addressed when crafting an enforceable Pre-nuptial agreement?
Any legal and enforceable prenuptial agreement must be documented in writing. It is common for couples to have verbal agreements about what should happen in the event of divorce with properties, child custody, and spousal support. However, if the terms and conditions of the prenup are only verbally agreed on, they are considered invalid.
In a written and enforceable pre-nuptial agreement, a statement of each spouse’s assets must be attached prior to the marriage to ensure that those assets remain with the respective spouse. Another required formality is that both spouses must sign the agreement. If the agreement is not signed in by each spouse, it is considered invalid and unenforceable. It is highly advised to have a New Jersey family law attorney guide you in the crafting of the agreement. The qualified and experienced attorney will know that the agreement should represent all of the following:
- The rights and obligations of each of the parties with regards to any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
- The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property
- The division of property in the event of separation, marital dissolution, death or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event
- Spousal support modifications or eliminations
- The crafting of a will, trust, or other arrangement needed to carry out the provisions of the agreement
- Ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from any life insurance policies
- The laws governing the construction of the agreement
- Any other matters, including personal rights and obligations that are not in violation of public policy
Frequently asked questions about pre-nuptial agreements in New Jersey
When entering any legal contract it is common to have questions about the nature and effects of the contract. The most common questions associated with a pre-nuptial contract are as follows:
Will entering into a premarital agreement affect the right of child support?
When does the premarital agreement take effect?
A premarital agreement becomes effective the moment that you and your spouse are legally married.
Can changes be made to our premarital agreement once we are married?
It is possible to amend your prenup once you and your spouse are lawfully married. However, it is important to note that should you choose to make any changes, all changes must be recorded in writing. Furthermore, each party must sign the amended agreement, acknowledging any and all new additions to the asset list or initial provisions.
Uniform Premarital Agreement Act: Section 38
When is a premarital agreement unenforceable?
According to section 38 of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a prenuptial agreement is unenforceable if one party in the contract can prove the following:
- The party executed the agreement unwillingly or under duress.
- The agreement was unjust at the time the enforcement was sought.
- That party, before the agreement, took effect.
- Was not provided with full and fair disclosure of the earnings, property and financial obligations of the other party.
- Did not, in writing, voluntarily and expressly waive any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure that was provided.
- Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, sufficient knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
- Did not consult with independent legal counsel or did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, the opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel.
Moreover, if the marriage is found to be fraudulent or void for some other reason (I.e. one party was already married), the prenup agreement is only enforceable to the extent necessary to avoid what the court may find to be an unjust outcome.
It is important to remember that with prenups, as with any legal contract, effective representation at the crafting of the contract is a critical aspect of how fair it will be and how well it represents your individual needs and concerns going forward.
Contact a Toms River Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today
While having agreements such as a prenuptial in place before a marriage occurs offers numerous benefits, creating and finalizing the contract can be a sensitive and delicate process. Our prenup lawyers are well aware of the nature of these situations and the need for discretion.
At Peter J. Bronzino we are committed to helping you produce an agreement that not only protects each parties’ interests and assets but one that mutually agreeable. Call (732) 812-3102 to schedule your consultation!