- March 21, 2022
File Under: Matrimonial & Family Law
Jeralyn Lawrence argued before the Supreme Court of New Jersey as amici on behalf of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, New Jersey Chapter and the court issued a decision.
The Supreme Court invalidated the statutory provision requiring palimony agreements to be entered into with advice of counsel as unconstitutional. The AAML participated as amicus curiae in the matter of Moynihan v. Lynch, arguing that palimony agreements should be enforced despite the lack of attorney review. The Court held the clause unconstitutional and noted the imbalance in these relationships that could create impediments to attorney review. “We cannot ignore the potential disparate impact of the statute – the reality that a financially dependent partner who is a party to a palimony agreement may be unable to afford counsel. Nor can we ignore the irony that, under N.J.S.A. 25:105(h), the parties cannot enter a palimony agreement without counsel, but can stand in a courtroom and argue the enforcement of such an agreement without counsel”, the Supreme Court said in its opinion.
The AAML further urged the court to permit the application of equitable defenses of promissory estoppel and partial performance to prevent frauds from being committed in cases such as this. The Supreme Court did not reach this argument. The court also did not reach this in an earlier case, setting the stage for future review. Three times may be the charm.