In October of 2008, Jennifer W. Milner blogged on palimony and pending legislation (S-2091), which, if enacted, would overturn the palimony decisions she discussed by requiring that any such contract to support one for life must be in writing and signed by the person making the promise. More specifically, that a promise by one party to a non-marital personal relationship to provide support for the other party, either during the course of the relationship or after its termination, is not binding unless it is in writing and signed. The editor of the blog, Eric S. Solotoff, promised that we would updated the blog accordingly. Well, on January 15, 2010, just a few short days before Jon Corzine’s last day as Governor, he signed legislation (S-2091) which prohibits the enforcement of palimony agreements that have not been put in writing. The new law provides that a promise of palimony is not binding unless it is in writing. It also requires both parties to receive independent advice of legal counsel before the agreement can become binding. This law closes a loophole in state law that has allowed palimony claims even when unmarried couples never lived together or did not put their promises of support in writing. The new law takes effect immediately.
Women will no doubt be hurt by this new law. There remains questions as to what the law means to both pending palimony cases as well as people who have in been relationships that would have merited palimony but for the new law. We would expect that there will be more to come on this.