Can my ex husband be liable for a verbal agreement?

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Can my ex husband be liable for a verbal agreement?

He currently pays me 240 a month to cover my health care costs. I remember it being said that this coverage would cease when I remarried and had someone to help me cover the costs. Yesterday, he mentioned that he wanted to ‘pay off’ the payment, calculating when our daughter turns 18. It was never a child support payment. I was caught off guard and did not say anything in response. What legal grounds do I have to stand on?

Asked on January 23, 2017 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Verbal agreements do not trump or over-ride written orders.  Because you mention that he is an ex-husband, I'm going to presume there was a court order which instructed him to pay child support.  His child support payments would have been ordered, by law, to be paid through the Attorney General's Office now located in San Antonio.  If you have a somewhat older decree, it may have been payable through your local district clerk.  Regardless, the idea is that child support is to be paid through an agency or department to track compliance with payment obligations. 
With that in mind....if he made any direct payments to you, your decree most likely also includes a provision that says that any other payments are considered a gift.  This means that any additional cash payments (or by check) for something else, will not be counted towards his support obligation.  This would include payments to cover your health care costs, shoes for kids, or enrollment fees for extracurricular activities. 
Your ex-husband does have the legal right to send in extra payments as credits to his support obligation to the AG to be counted towards any payments that he owes.  For example, he can pre-pay three months of his support obligation.  However, if the AG decide to review his support obligation during that three months and determines that he should pay double the original child support amount per month, then his prepayment does not excuse the new required payment.  The three months of pre-payments are only applied as a credit.
With regard to the $240.00 that he is paying you in health care costs....if that was a verbal agreement to pay, then he can discontinue that payment at any time.  He is not legally bound to the verbal agreement to pay $240.00 per month.  If he was ORDERED to pay the $240.00 per month in health care costs in your final decree, then he will be required and obligated to pay that amount until such time the decree or the court says he could stop.
Basically, the $240.00 and the child support are two different issues which are not dependent on each other. 


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