Can I Enforce a Verbal Agreement in Family Law?
It is not unusual to have verbal agreements, or an assertion by one party that there has been a verbal agreement in family law matters. The reality is that parents and former spouses do not document all agreements in writing. A verbal agreement is fine as long as both parties agree as to what they agreed, and follow the verbal agreement. A verbal agreement can likely be enforced if both parties concur on the content of the agreement. All too often though, the parties disagree that there was an agreement or what the content of the agreement was. Proof of an agreement can be difficult in cases where one party denies an agreement.
Some primary purposes of comprehensive written agreements are to:
- Clarify expectations and responsibilities
- Specify each parties obligations
- Provide for consequences of default
In theory an oral agreement is as enforceable as a written one. However, a written contact signed by both parties is much easier to establish. If there is no written agreement signed by both parties, there may be other writings, such as text messages or e-mails. Sometimes subsequent behavior can be relevant as well. If the parties acted in accordance with the alleged agreement, that is important.
There are certain agreements that are legally required to written and if not, they are void;
- An agreement that can not be completed in less than one year;
- Any agreement to be responsibile for an act or obligation of another person;
- Premarital and marital agreements;
- Leases for more than one year; and
- Real estate transfers
The best practice is to always put in agreement in writing and for both parties to sign it. This is particularly true if an oral agreement is different than a court order that is in effect. A person can always choose to enforce the court order in effect, as a verbal agreement does not override it. If parties would like to change an existing court agreement, they can either file a signed stipulation, AKA agreement, with the court or ask the court to decide the issues. The court can issue the stipulation as a court order. A notary is an important protection in a written agreement because it can establish on its face that the agreement was signed by the parties. Of course the notary has to be executed in accordance with standard procedures.How Can an Attorney Help?
An attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs agreements by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings from start to finish. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. The court system is more complex than it should be. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Family Law, DBA Janko Family Law can help ensure that your best interests are protected. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.