My Ex Spouse and I Have a Verbal Agreement to Modify Our Divorce: Is that Binding?

After your divorce, especially if you and your spouse have children, there may be many times when you and your ex-spouse want to modify or change what your divorce agreement states. Most likely you will just “verbally agree” (or do it via text messaging or email). Is your verbal agreement binding? Is your text message or email binding?

Generally, a verbal agreement is not binding. Similarly, a text message or email is not binding — even if it is signed.

In New York State, in order or a modification of your divorce agreement to be binding, it has to be in writing, have a proper acknowledgment and also be notarized. Simply, having a written agreement that is signed is not sufficient. Even if the document is signed and it has a notary public stamp that is also not sufficient. The agreement must be signed, notarized and have what is called a “proper acknowledgment.”

A proper acknowledgement states that in an addition to a notary recognizing your signature on the document, the notary must also state that the party signing the document orally acknowledged to the notary public that he/she signed the document and that the notary indicate that they ascertained that the signer was the person described in the document.

Therefore, even if you and your ex-spouse come to a verbal agreement and you then want to challenge that verbal agreement you probably can do so. However, the Court can consider your verbal agreement as evidence and still may uphold the verbal agreement.

There will be many times that in practice, you and your ex-spouse should feel comfortable in entering a verbal agreement. Clearly, having to enter a written agreement every time you want a small change to your agreement could be unwieldy and prohibitive. You and your ex-spouse should have at least enough trust that a verbal agreement should suffice.

Of course, if the modification or change to your divorce agreement is a big change, then it probably would make sense to enter into a written agreement and also to hire an attorney to make sure that the written agreement is property drafted.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have drafted many modifications and amendments to divorce agreements and have also given advice on what divorced couples need to do to modify their divorce agreements.

If you want to change your divorce agreement or you are considering getting divorced, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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