When you and your spouse got married, you may have agreed to take on certain responsibilities in your household. For instance, one of you may have agreed to take care of the lawn while other was willing to do laundry. It’s common for spouses, especially those with children, to divvy up the chores and tasks that go into keeping a Pennsylvania home and family functioning well on a daily basis. If things didn’t work out between you and your spouse, you may have discussed divorce and agreed to certain terms.
Perhaps you both wanted to avoid a pile a paperwork and thought you could simply talk things through, come to an agreement and move on with your lives after filing a petition to divorce in court. If your spouse verbally agreed to certain terms and is now trying to back out on the agreement, there are several things you should know about verbal contracts.
Oral agreements are difficult to enforce in court
When you settle a divorce, you and your ex must resolve numerous issues, especially regarding your children. Whether an agreement is verbal or in writing, you’re both promising to do certain things (or not do certain things) after your divorce. The following list includes issues that constitute a binding oral contract:
- Both parties understand and consent to the terms of agreement.
- Stipulations are proposed and accepted.
- There’s an exchange of valuable goods, rights or services.
- Parties are obligated to perform certain duties or tasks.
- The agreement is made in good faith.
If your ex just verbally agreed to things you said without ever intending to hold up his or her end of the bargain, then he or she may not have entered into the oral agreement in good faith. This can cause legal problems with regard to dividing marital property, crafting a child custody plan or other divorce-related issues.
Why it’s always best to have a written agreement and court order
The good thing about filing for divorce in a Pennsylvania court is that you don’t have to go through it alone. In fact, it’s helpful to rely on experienced legal support to avoid complications regarding verbal agreements, written agreements or court orders. One of the benefits of a written agreement and court order is that there’s no question who’s obligated to do what.
When the court issues an order, you and your ex are both obligated to adhere to its terms, no matter what. If you merely verbally agreed to settlement terms, you don’t have documentation to substantiate your claim if you didn’t have legal support at the time and your ex has not followed through with what he or she agreed to in order to finalize your divorce.