DoI have a case to collect ofor debts based on a verbal promise?

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DoI have a case to collect ofor debts based on a verbal promise?

My ex left me for another guy 9 months ago.  However she verbally agreed to repay me for several debts (nothing in writing). But now is saying she that she didn’t. She owes me for a wedding dress worth $800 that my mom paid for with a credit card. She also used a cell phone for 2 months and never paid me for costs on her line for around $200. I stayed at the apartment that was in her name so that she wouldn’t break the lease and she agreed to pay her half for 2 remaining months, to the tune of about $700. Do I have a case that is small claims court worthy (even if its all verbal)?

Asked on April 10, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, North Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Oral or verbal agreements are generally enforceable (though note: an agreement to pay a pre-existing debt of a person must usually be in writing, though an agreement to repay someone for a debt or cost that *will* incurred--e.g. to pay 1/2 of the next 2 month's rent--may be oral). The issues, of course are:

 1) Proving the terms, or even the existence, of the agreements if the other person disputes them. The burden of proof will be on you, as the one suing, to prove the agreements--though small claims court is inexpensive, so it's not much of a risk to sue in it.

2) Even though small claims court is inexpensive, it's not free and it can take up time; if it's going to simply be your word vs. hers, with no other witnesses or evidence in your favor, consider whether it is worthwhile given that the burden of proof (see above) is on you.


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