Skip links

When Is an Oral Agreement Enforceable

As a copy editor with experience in SEO, I have written an article on “when is an oral agreement enforceable?”

An oral agreement, also known as a verbal agreement, is a contract made solely through spoken communication between parties, without any written documentation. Oral agreements are valid in many circumstances, but they are not always enforceable in a court of law.

Enforceability of an oral agreement depends on several factors, which include the nature of the agreement, the state law, the statute of frauds, and the parties involved.

Nature of the agreement

The nature of the agreement plays a crucial role in determining its enforceability. In general, oral agreements that relate to minor matters, such as social arrangements and casual promises, are not enforceable in court. However, oral agreements that are related to significant matters, such as employment contracts, real estate transactions, and business deals, may be enforceable.

State law

Enforceability of an oral agreement varies from one state to another. Some states have specific laws that prohibit the enforcement of oral agreements in certain types of contracts. For example, in California, an oral agreement related to the sale of real estate is not enforceable.

Statute of frauds

The statute of frauds is a law that requires certain types of contracts to be in writing to be enforceable. The statute of frauds varies from one state to another, but it typically covers contracts related to real estate, marriage, and contracts that cannot be performed within one year. Therefore, if an oral agreement falls under the statute of frauds, it is not enforceable.

Parties involved

The parties involved in the oral agreement may also affect its enforceability. If both parties agree to the terms of the oral agreement and can prove its existence, the agreement may be enforceable. However, if only one party agrees to the terms of the oral agreement, it may not be enforceable. In general, it is more challenging to enforce an oral agreement if some of the terms of the agreement are unclear or were never discussed.


In conclusion, the enforceability of an oral agreement depends on various factors, including the nature of the agreement, state law, the statute of frauds, and the parties involved. While oral agreements are valid in some situations, they are not always enforceable. Therefore, it is always advisable to have a written agreement, as it provides a clear record of the terms agreed upon by both parties and minimizes the risk of misunderstandings.

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.