Archive for Binding Contracts

Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Legal Ground of Verbal Promises

A contract, whether verbal or in writing, is a legally binding agreement enforceable in a court of law. However, not all agreements between two parties are legally binding contracts. For it to be considered a valid contract, certain elements must exist. The expression “a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s printed on” is both true and false. Verbal contracts are, in many cases, legally enforceable and binding on the parties who make the agreement. However, proving the terms of a verbal contract can be difficult, and usually result in a “he said, she said” disagreement says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Additionally, in certain cases, verbal agreements are prohibited from enforcement by law, even if you can prove the terms of the contract.


“Pillow Talk”

Lawyers and judges often refer to certain agreements as “pillow talk“. The couple may be in bed enjoying a moment of intimacy, but one member of the couple feels insecure about the future. The other member of the couple offers reassurance along the lines of: “Don’t worry. I love you. I’ll take care of you. Everything will be okay. . . .” Sometime later, everything is not okay. One member of the couple decides to end the relationship, and the more vulnerable member of the couple does not feel taken care of at all. If person who feels that his or her continued care is severely lacking decides to file a lawsuit to collect on the promise, is she or he likely to succeed? Not at all, to begin with, such agreements are rarely in writing, so they are hard to prove in court. Second, even if the promise did not fail for lack of specificity, it could be viewed contingent on circumstances that are no longer in effect. If the promise means anything, it probably means, “I’ll support you financially as long as we are living together.” So, if the couple breaks up, a court probably would not find an enforceable promise for continued support. Third, a promise that “I’ll take care of you . . . Everything will by okay” probably is too vague to be enforceable. The court does not have a clear standard to determine the meaning of “I’ll take care” and “Everything will be okay.” In the absence of a clear agreement between the parties, courts are reluctant to create more definite terms of a contract. The quoted promise is not nearly as specific as an agreement to pay half the rent or to share equally the profits and expenses of running a ranch explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Fourth, there could be a problem with consideration. Contracts usually require each party to give something in order for there to be a valid agreement. Here, the promise might be viewed as one-way or gratuitous. One partner promised to take care of the other, but there was not a specific promise in return. So, the agreement could be unenforceable for that reason as well.

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Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Legal Ground of Verbal Promises


The partner who is seeking support might argue that he or she promised to maintain the home and provide emotional support in exchange for a promise of being taken care of. A promise of taking care of a home and providing emotional support is not likely to be specific enough to be enforceable, and it may be viewed as contingent on continuation of the relationship. In addition, if a court thinks an agreement amounts to providing financial support in exchange for sexual relations, the court will not enforce it. Such an agreement will be viewed as uncomfortably close to a contract for prostitution explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Courts are more inclined to enforce agreements for tangible items such as payments of expenses or rights to property. A promise of housekeeping services or emotional support for a partner may be sincere, but it is much more amorphous than a promise to pay half the phone bill or share the proceeds of a condominium sale. Parties will sometimes verbally modify an agreement that was previously in writing. Be careful when you do this. Many contracts include provisions that state that no addendum or modification will be permitted unless it is in writing or signed. Even if a contract does not include this text, if the other party denies the existence of an oral addendum, you will somehow have to prove that the verbal agreement exists. If you cannot, you will still be bound to the terms of the original written contract.


The biggest hurdle to overcome with verbal agreements in proving what the terms of the agreement are says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Parties can easily forget the specifics of the agreement, such as promised timelines, payment agreements and other specific, numerical terms. If there are no witnesses to the verbal agreement, and none of the provisions were recorded, parties will find themselves in court arguing “he said, she said.” The best way to make sure your deal is seal is to get it in writing. If you make a verbal agreement and wish to avoid the problems with evidence, you can simply ask for written confirmation of the terms of your agreement. This can be done simply by writing an e-mail to the other person outlining the terms you verbally agreed on. When the other party writes back confirming your terms, you have essentially turned what was a verbal agreement into a written contract. This e-mail exchange can be used to prove the terms of your agreement in court.

Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs Legal Ground of Verbal Promises