Will a Verbal Contract Stand Up in Court?

Verbal agreements or contracts are quite common in everyday business. Verbal contracts are just as enforceable as written contracts. The key to a verbal contract is the ability to prove that an agreement existed. By definition, an oral contract offers no written proof. So, to have a verbal contract enforced by the court one party would have to prove to the court that such an agreement was in place. Proof is provided in different ways, but the most common, is for a third party to come forward as a witness to the agreement.


A verbal contract is an oral exchange of terms or an agreement based on conditions. A written agreement is preferable to an oral agreement, because the document itself serves as proof of the terms. But, a verbal contract is just as enforceable in court as long a party can prove the existence of an agreement and the agreement meets the elements of an enforceable contract.


The first element of an enforceable contract is the "meeting of the minds" or a mutual agreement. Party A agrees to pay a set amount of money if party B mows his lawn. Once all parties agree to reach a mutual understanding the first element is met.


The next element is the acceptance of the terms. Party B agrees to mow the lawn and accepts the agreed upon amount when finished. The parties have agreed to the terms and both parties have accepted those terms.


For a contract to be enforceable, there must be mutual value or consideration for both parties. Party A has his lawn freshly mowed, and Party B receives financial compensation. Both sides received mutual consideration and the verbal contract is enforceable in court.

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About the Author

Gary Wright is a working attorney in the Cleveland Ohio area. He has written on a professional freelance basis since 2005 and has a passion for public records. Wright is a graduate of Cleveland State University and the Marshall College of Law.

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