Are verbal agreeements legal and binding?

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Are verbal agreeements legal and binding?

We owned a business. My ex asked me to sign the business away to him or he would close it and re-open in a new name, so I did. During our divorce I lost my home and my ex verbally promised to ensure more money to me once he built up the business again. He also verbally promised to either purchase me a home with no mortgage or give me $300 in cash to do what I needed. At one point, he started getting me a mortgage and then stopped. I have been waiting years for him to hold his side of the agreement to no avail. His business is very profitable. Ironically he is a home builder in the Hamptons.

My son just turned 21 and my other is 12. We have been renting for 4 years. We have moved twice and now the current landlord wants to sell the home we are in. During our marriage I worked in our business. He would not let me work there anymore and his current wife is doing the job now. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on January 1, 2017 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An oral promise (that is the better term than "verbal") is NOT enforceable unless therewas consideration, or something of value, exchanged for it: all contacts, whether written or oral, require an exchange of consideration. You describe promises where you did not in return give or promise him anything in exchange for his promise: if there was the case--if you did not give him any consideration for the promises--then his promises were not enforceable oral contracts or agreements, but only "gratuitious" promises which may be freely reneged upon.


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