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Primmer v. Harrison

New Jersey Appellate Division

May 6, 2022

The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s order enforcing the parties’ palimony agreement concerning the dissolution of their relationship. The parties entered into the agreement and abided by its terms for some time. But the plaintiff never paid her share of the down payment. The defendant stopped paying his monthly share. Then, the plaintiff received a letter stating that the agreement was “null and void” because an attorney did not represent the defendant when the parties drafted the agreement. The defendant subsequently informed the plaintiff he would stop paying for her cell phone, mortgage, and home maintenance. The plaintiff filed a complaint seeking damages for the defendant’s breach of the agreement. The trial court concluded that the agreement was enforceable and not barred by the Statute of Frauds because the “defendant continued to make monthly support payments for six years, which were an integral part of this agreement.” The court found the continued payments were “substantial part performance as well as justifiable reliance by the plaintiff on that performance to indicate that an agreement had been reached. The defendant appealed, and the Appellate Division affirmed. The Court affirmed for the reasons given by the trial court and made two additional points. First, the trial court did not err when it denied the defendant’s motion in limine. The court correctly ruled that the defendant failed to meet his burden of proof to void the agreement. Second, the Court held that the holding in Moynihan v. Lynch applies retroactively to written palimony agreements reached before the Court’s ruling, where such agreements are otherwise enforceable.

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