Is Your Verbal Contract Valid? What You Need to Know About Oral Agreements

verbal contracts

I’m sure people have warned you to “Get it in writing!” before. You may have wondered if you needed to do so. Are verbal contracts enforceable?

The answer is it depends.

Let’s consider a well-known verbal promise.

“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until parted by death” is not a valid contract.

Your wedding vows are not enforceable, but a marriage contract or prenuptial agreement is. The common factor? These documents are in writing. That being said, some verbal agreements can be enforced in Texas courts.

If oral commitments satisfy the conditions of a legal contract, Texas courts have little trouble upholding them. A verbal contract’s ability to be legally binding ultimately depends on the parties’ interactions and the actions and circumstances surrounding such discussions.

This is assessed on a case-by-case basis. You should contact your Texas verbal contracts lawyer at the Titus Law Firm and speak to them about the terms of your agreement to find out if it can be enforced.

How Do You Know You Have a Valid Contract?

Oral contracts are said to have been created under Texas law when all the following conditions are met:

  • An offer by one party
  • Acceptance of the terms of the offer by the other party
  • A mutual meeting of the minds of each party
  • Consideration

A consideration is deemed sufficient if one of the following conditions is met:

  • Between the parties, there is reciprocal trade involved
  • It’s worth something in law (in other words, nothing that the parties are not otherwise compelled by law must be agreed to)

Do you have a valid oral contract? Please schedule a consultation with a Texas Business attorney at Titus Law Firm and tell us all the specifics of your case.

Was There a Breach of a Verbal Contract?

There has been an oral contract breach if the following situations occur:

The parties are bound by a legal contract as described above

  • One party fulfills its portion of the contract’s obligations
  • The other party does not carry out its duty
  • By virtue of this violation or failure, the plaintiff suffers damages

If a party breaches a contract obligation, the other party may file a lawsuit against that party for breach and seek financial compensation or restitution. In a contract dispute, the goal of damages is to restore the aggrieved party’s position as it would have been if the contract had been fulfilled.

Due to the breach of the verbal contract, the affected party may file a lawsuit for the money they lost. Contact a contract law attorney for a consultation if you believe you have a potential suit.

Contracts That Must Be in Writing

If a verbal agreement violates the Texas Statute of Frauds, it may not be valid even though it appears to be enforceable. Some agreements must be written contracts, notwithstanding the general rule that a contract need not be in writing to be enforceable.

Per the Statute of Frauds, contracts that must be in writing include the following examples:

  1. a promise by an executor or administrator to answer out of his own estate for any debt or damage due from his testator or intestate;
  2. a promise by one person to answer for the debt, default, or miscarriage of another person;
  3. an agreement made on consideration of marriage or on consideration of nonmarital conjugal cohabitation;
  4. a contract for the sale of real estate;
  5. a lease of real estate for a term longer than one year;
  6. an agreement which is not to be performed within one year from the date of making the agreement;
  7. a promise or agreement to pay a commission for the sale or purchase of:
  8. oil or gas mining lease;
  9. oil or gas royalty;
  10. minerals; or
  11. a mineral interest; and

(8) an agreement, promise, contract, or warranty of cure relating to medical care or results thereof made by a physician or health care provider as defined in Section 74.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This section shall not apply to pharmacists.”

The Statute of Frauds seeks to protect parties from fraud in particular transactions by mandating that certain transactions be in writing. Verbal contracts simply won’t do in these scenarios. The written agreement must contain a summary of the agreement’s terms, the parties’ signatures, and a description of its subject matter.

Take a Screenshot, Just in Case

It’s 2022. Millennial and Gen Z business owners will attest that texts are the most common ways to communicate and do business. Sometimes entire business transactions are planned in the direct messages of popular apps. Text messages are commonly used as evidence in situations of contract violation due to their prevalence and the fact that they are a traceable form of communication.

You can offer emails or text messages that record the verbal agreement to demonstrate that there was one in this circumstance. Additionally, you may display an accounting of the money you have received or spent. In cases when you order items, this also applies.

You Need an Experienced Texas Contract Lawyer

A verbal agreement in Texas may be legally enforceable, but there is no guarantee that it will be. In reality, making an oral agreement might occasionally have adverse effects. The most significant problem with verbal contracts is frequently establishing the agreement’s validity. Since they are more challenging to prove, litigation for violations of oral commitments may cost more money.

Don’t hesitate to contact a Houston verbal contracts attorney if you’re involved in a legal dispute centered around an oral agreement.

Author Bio

Eddison S. Titus

Eddison S. Titus is the Founder of The Titus Law Firm, a Houston estate planning, business law, and real estate law firm he founded in 2016. He has successfully represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including will and trust creation, probate, real estate transactions, business formation, business and contract disputes, and business succession planning.

Eddison received his Juris Doctor from the Charlotte School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google