When a married couple gets divorced, there is a formal legal process by which the legal complications of the divorce are settled. These issues often include the division of marital property, child custody, child support, and alimony. However, unmarried couples do not always enjoy the same legal rights during a separation. For this and many other reasons, many unmarried couples draft cohabitation agreements. Commonly, these cohabitation agreements between unmarried couples contain provisions for what is known as “palimony”. The fact of the matter is, if you and your partner live together, have commingled assets, and are not planning on marrying, you may not be protected without a palimony or cohabitation agreement.
Today, our cohabitation agreement attorneys will be defining palimony, cohabitation agreements, what can be included in each, and when these agreements may be appropriate for New Jersey couples.
What is Palimony? Teaneck, NJ Unmarried Couples’ Attorneys
As more and more American choose to live together without getting married, the legal system has changed to reflect this reality. However, unmarried couples still do not enjoy many of the legal rights afforded to married couples. Our Teaneck unmarried couples’ attorneys understand this, and frequently work with clients to draft enforceable palimony agreements.
Palimony as a term is an amalgamation of the words “pal” and “alimony”. In New Jersey, palimony agreements may be independent agreements or part of a larger cohabitation agreement. In either case, the following is true:
- Palimony will not be granted on any vague or implied promises to support a partner after a separation
- The terms of palimony agreements must be conscionable (reasonable)
- The couple lived together for a substantial period of time
- A written palimony agreement exists OR there is a clear financial dependence of one party on another over a long period of time
There are no clear cut palimony laws in New Jersey. This means that palimony is neither guaranteed, nor can it be assumed that it will not be owed. It is therefore a great idea to work with a qualified Teaneck family law attorney.
Bergen County Cohabitation Agreements
Many unmarried couples choose to secure their present and future legal rights by entering into cohabitation agreements. As mentioned earlier, it is possible for these agreements to include terms for palimony in case of a separation. It is also possible for a Bergen County cohabitation agreement lawyer to include terms for other issues such as power of attorney, medical decision making, division of assets, and much more.
Cohabitation agreements are very flexible in nature, but they must adhere to specific marital agreement guidelines in order to be enforceable. This is important to understand, as there are no fewer than five types of alimony available in New Jersey. This may mean that your palimony terms within a cohabitation agreement may be limited duration, open duration, rehabilitative, and so on.
Considering a Palimony or Cohabitation Agreement? Contact our Hackensack Family Law Attorneys Today
The family law attorneys of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark have extensive experience drafting and enforcing palimony agreements for clients across Bergen County communities including Hackensack, Paramus, Ridgewood, Fort Lee, Teaneck, and all of Northern New Jersey. We understand that no two families are alike, and no two cohabitation agreements should be alike. Our attorneys work closely with our clients and their families to draft, modify, and enforce palimony agreements. Our firm boasts three partners who are all certified matrimonial law attorneys, a distinction granted to only two percent of active attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court.