I am a 39 yr old female who has cohabitated with a 42 yr old male in the state of New Jersey for the past 6 and one half years. We are not legally married. As a result of this relationship, we now have a 2yr old special needs child. Our son was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy and brain damage. The Doctors have predicted that he will require Medical treatment for the rest of his life. I am presently living in my male partners home in NJ. The house is in his name and he owns a very successful electrical contracting business. i have not been able to work because I have had to stay home and take care of my special needs child. We have no precohabitation contract.His two expensive cars and a boat are in my name. my male partner has been giving me $2000 a month and paying $2000 amonth in health ins for my son and I, as I also have several existing medical conditions. Now he wants me to leave with my son.What are my rights in the state of NJ if we separate?Does he have to continue to pay for our son's prolonged medical attention? Am I entitled to any monthly compensation considering we are not married but considering that I will have to finance a new dwelling and take care of our child for the rest of my life. i anxiously await your answers and advise. thanking you in advance for your consideration of this matter. Yours truly Raquel
Middletown NJ Besides multiple arguments with my male partner, I have not sought any legal advise. I was hoping you could steer me in the right direction.
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Thanks again for asking your question. This is a complex legal area and a local attorney will have to evaluate your case in full. However, let me give you some guidance and see if I can point you in the right direction. Unwed partners in NJ are generally not afforded the same support rights as are provided to married couples seeking a divorce and alimony. Seeking support from an unwed partner is called "palimony." Over the years, NJ has had a number of changes in its approach to palimony, most recently with the changes to the law in the latter part of 2010. The changes to the law in 2010 made palimony awards much more restricted. The essence of the new law was that palimony agreements wouldn't be enforceable unless made in writing. (N.J.S.A. 25:1-5(h)) This is a hot area of the law, and a number of cases have been litigated since the passage of the law with the new requirements. Thus, the central question in your case would be whether a palimony case would be completely barred by the new statute (assuming that you have no support agreement in writing).
Even barring a palimony claim, there may also be other legal theories that can potentially be brought to get you support. Here is a great link to recent cases, which will give you some good background:
As stated earlier, this is a complex legal area with many recent changes. While you may potentially not be able to bring a statutory claim for palimony after the recent changes to the law, you may have other options and alternative claims.
Let me now address support of your child. Fortunately, this is an easier analysis. Regardless of marital status, each parent has a support obligation to their child(ren). Thus, you can calculate support in the same way a married couple going through a divorce would make the calculation. Given the disparity in income and assets, your child should be entitled to child support from the father. The number can be calculated with fairly good accuracy using one of the available calculators on the Internet. Here is one you can use as an example: http://www.njchildsupport.org/Article.asp?AID=174
I hope this information is helpful and answers your question but please feel free to post follow up questions or comments if I can assist you further. It is my goal to ensure your question is fully answered to your satisfaction.
Practicing family law attorney in multiple jurisdictions
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