Is A Handwritten Agreement For Alimony Valid
By Contributing Advice Expert View more articles
Is a Handwritten Agreement for Alimony Valid?
Many people wonder if verbal or handwritten agreements are valid if brought up in court. While businesses will have no issues with such a question, mainly because they rely only on printed and official contracts, there are cases in which a handwritten agreement can pop up in court.
For example, if a couple is going through a divorce and the two decide over alimony, then would a handwritten agreement for that purpose be valid?
Statute of Frauds
A promise and an enforceable contract come with some legal differences between them. However, one thing is for sure, a certain contract or agreement must be in writing to be enforceable under the Statute of Frauds.
These are the types of contracts and agreements that have to be in writing in order to be enforceable:
- Contracts for goods or services that total over $500.
- Agreements that make decisions after a person’s death.
- Payment for another individual’s debts.
- The transfer or sale of real estate.
- A commercial or residential lease that lasts for more than one year.
- Any type of agreement that spans longer than a year.
Judging by the last entry, it is safe to say that handwritten agreements for alimony are valid if the agreement between the two parties lasts longer than a year and it is specified within the agreement.
Is A Handwritten Agreement Enforceable?
As mentioned above, a handwritten agreement or contract is legally binding and enforceable if it spells out the specific details of the agreement, is signed by both parties, and they both agree to its terms.
However, it is well-known that agreements between separated or married persons can be both confusing and complicated.
For example, there were cases in which such an agreement was presented to the court and was ultimately ruled invalid, because it was not signed and acknowledged by both parties in the presence of a certifying officer. However, this can also depend on the state you live in.
The Recommended Action
As you may have noticed, when it comes to contracts, it is clear which ones must be in writing. On the other hand, when it comes to an agreement between a married or separated couple, things get a bit more complicated.
Some states or courts will require that the agreement be notarized after both parties have signed it, while others will deem it valid as long as both parties have acknowledged and signed it.
Still, it is strongly recommended that you engage in any type of agreement in the presence of a lawyer, to make sure that you avoid any future issues that may arise in the court of law.
Even though an agreement on a napkin, signed at a gas station, can be valid, it is much better to have a lawyer and notary look over it before you are certain that it is enforceable.
The Bottom Line
The final and most important piece of advice that we can give in such situations is to always seek legal counsel, especially from someone knowledgeable and experienced with family law.
They will be able to offer you information and insight on whether such handwritten agreements are valid or not, and if they can be used in court to enforce certain action against the opposing party.