Palimony cases have provided attorneys and judges with vexing factual and legal issues, largely as the result of competing versions of what was intended by the parties. Was there a promise to support someone for life? What if the promising party dies and the estate is sued? Now that actual cohabitation is no longer a necessary element of palimony ( Devaney v. Esperance, decided by the New Jersey Appellate last year), the introduction of a bill which would require palimony agreements to be in writing is most welcome.
The bill, which still needs full Senate approval, would also allow courts to void a written palimony agreement if the parties are not told that they have the right to seek independent legal counsel before signing. Based on Devaney, the bill does not require cohabitation.
The bill drew no public testimony and passed without opposition. Its passage by the full Senate is anticipated.
I expect that written palimony agreements will become increasingly common even if the bill does not pass and absolutely essential if it does. Such agreements should be negotiated and drafted with the same precision as premarital agreements are today so there is no room for misunderstanding if the need for enforcement arises months or years down the road.