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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Verbal Agreements Between Spouses

    My wife of three years and I live in California and were married in California. I verbally uttered two intentions several times to my wife during two of our many arguments of these past three years. It was always about the same two things; how she's struggling financially since her botched 1031 tax exchange, and the acquisition of a new van for her.

    She believed I ruined her well-used 2003 60,00-mile van before and after we were married because of her perception of how I drove it and she kept on pestering me about it. In exasperation, I told her I'd buy her a new van just to get her to cease her hostile pestering. I also felt at that time that we would one day eventually need a new van anyway and I'd have to buy one with an auto loan. This is the way I've always bought vehicles and I've expressed this to her many times. She, however, would throw a fit at the mere thought of another credit liability because she wants me to have a higher credit score in order to qualify for more favorable mortgage loan in order for us to move into a bigger house. I've revealed to her my credit score and she has said her score is much lower than mine because of her recent real estate transaction.

    The other comment I uttered was that I'd do whatever I could to help recoup the substantial money she lost and the future passive income she no longer has as a result of a 1031 tax exchange that went from bad to worse. The 1031 transaction occurred when we were engaged to be married and it was handled by a personal friend of mine whom I believed and told her we could trust. My wife is disabled and depended on her rental apartment's income for her and her daughter's financial needs. Needless to say that because of my friend's and her mistakes with her 1031 tax exchange, my friend is now and ex-friend and the whole mess has changed our marriage and emotional relationship with each other for the worst. She now blames me for all of her financial troubles even though I had no legal standing with her 1031 and wasn't privvy to most her and my ex-friend's conversations during that awful real estate transaction. She could've backed out from the deal at anytime up until the she accepted the buyer's offer, but didn't.

    I do admit that I have uttered those two intentions several times out of exasperation and because of the guilt I let her put on me...and at one time I thought I could do it....I thought I could put my nose to the grindstone and work it out. Our relationship has uncreasingly turned emotionally hostile over these past three years and I no longer feel as compelled to work my butt off to try to make things right and more bearable for us because I'm not getting the emotional support, love and understanding from this marriage. To whit, I'm not getting anything good at all out of this marriage...just a lot of hostility, stress, frustration, grief, loneliness, sadness, and an uncertain financial future for myself and my retirement in five to ten years now that we're heading for divorce.

    Also, there has never been any form of physical abuse or threat of violence between us....just a lot of resentment on both of our parts and a lot of snide, disparaging, and condescending remarks towards me or about me on her part. Me? I get frustrated and angry and I tend to raise my voice yell at her or about what she says that has pushed my buttons.

    I apologize for the long-winded background, but I thought it'd help you undersstand my predicament. I understand that some of these issues are for family and personal therapy/counseling. My wife holds these two promises (as she calls them) over my head and my character and all it does anymore is cause the both of us even more resentment towards each other. So, now that you have the back-story, am I legally obligated in California to produce what I had at one time intended to do but no longer feel compelled to do? Thank you for your opinions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Verbal Agreements Between Spouses

    It is not clear that you have made any special commitment to buy a new van or to make up for the 1031 losses which would be enforceable in a divorce action; but that doesn't mean that a court might not be sympathetic to her claim that such agreements existed or that an unequal distribution of assets would be necessary given the equities of the case. Consult a divorce lawyer, and start making a plan for achieving a fair division of the marital estate.

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