Divorce or palimony suit?

Aug 8, 2012 by

Question: 

I lived with a man who I was married to in 1975. Got divorced in 1978. Got back together in 1980 due to an illness I had which made me disabled mentally – Viral Insefelitis. Left a scar in my brain which causes seizures (controlled by meds. & memory problem due to scar). He stayed with me for 20+ yrs. Referred to me as his wife to people. Bought a house together & filed taxes together. A year 1/2 ago he leaves me for a 35 yr. old (he is 58 & I’m 60). Comes back to me June 2009 (this yr.), tells me she wanted to get married & God knows what else the reason for him coming home. Tells me it is over, definitely over. This week, Monday Sept. 14, he tells me he is moving to Florida due to business (which I knew all along, just not the precise date) and to my surprise and shock he says she – the 35 yr. old – is going with him to live there. I was upset, think I was lead on into believing he is back home when all of a sudden he is going back to her. Am I entitled to anything? Can I file for anything considering we never remarried? (NJ)

State: 
New Jersey

Answer: 

You need to consult an attorney to see what your rights and options are under the laws in New Jersey. Even though you are not married, that you own a house together, filed taxes jointly and have lived as husband and wife for many years will certainly affect how any assets are divided and whether or not you are entitled to further compensation. You may have to file a civil action. If you can’t afford an attorney, check with your state’s Bar Association to see if they offer low- or no-cost legal help.

The best way to protect yourself would have been to have a lawyer draw up a legal contract between yourself and your domestic partner outlining exactly what would happen to the assets should you split. It would be best if all jointly owned property carried both of your names. This can also be a way to assure the other partner will inherit the property if the other passes away during the relationship.

- The Divorce.com Team

Wendy Jaffe and Divorce.com can only provide general information about divorce. DO NOT RELY ON MS. JAFFE’S ADVICE ALONE. Before acting on information provided by Ms. Jaffe or by Divorce.com, talk to an attorney first about your particular facts and the law of your state. By submitting your question to Divorce.com, you are not creating an attorney/client relationship with Ms. Jaffe or with any of the other attorneys listed on this site.

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