3rd Aug 2014

Is your verbal or oral contract enforceable in a court of law? The answer is that it depends on whether or not your verbal agreement satisfied the requirements of a contract. A contract has three parts which are: 1) an offer; 2) acceptance; and 3) consideration.

An offer is a proposal to perform an act or to refrain from performing an act. An acceptance is to approve and voluntarily consent to a person’s offer to act or refrain from performing an act. Consideration is the value that is exchanged for the agreement. For example, your neighbor verbally offers to pay you $50 every day you walk his dog. You accept his offer and begin walking the dog 5 days a week. This is a verbal contract.

To have a contract enforced, you have to present evidence to the court that corroborates the agreement that you have made with the other person. If you continue to walk your neighbor’s dog for 6 months but he only pays you for 5 months, you can file a Complaint for Breach of Contract against him and sue him for 1 month of fees that he didn’t pay you. The evidence you may use to prove your case would be eyewitness testimony of other neighbors who have seen you walk your neighbor’s dog. Also, copies of the checks that your neighbor paid you or receipts for the 5 months that you walked the dog would be evidence of the existence of a contract. Any emails or text messages that your neighbor sent you promising to pay you the money would also be strong evidence of the fact that he breached the contract.

It is important that you make a written demand for payment to the person who breached the contract and give that person a reasonable opportunity to fulfill his duty under the contract before you file a complaint against him or her.

Did you know that not all verbal contracts are enforceable? Some contracts are barred by the statute of frauds. The statute of frauds governs which contracts are enforceable. For example, contracts involving the transfer or sale of real estate must be in writing. Also, contracts that cannot be performed within 12 months must be in writing. A person cannot verbally offer to transfer the title of their house to you. That contract is barred by the statute of frauds, because it involves the transfer of real estate. That contract must in writing to be enforced by a Court of law.

The Law Office of Aileen Oliver can assist you in any Contract issue. Please call us for a consultation appointment today.

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