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Are Domestic Contracts Enforceable?

Are Domestic Contracts Enforceable?

Continuation to our learning the law series; Can Domestic Contracts Be Enforceable In Law? 

If a man maybe during lovemaking with the wife or under any other circumstances makes a promise to the wife and fails to fulfill that promise can the wife sue the man for the man to fulfill his promise? 

What if a parent asks a child to do some domestic chores and the parent promises the child money or other material things in exchange for the child to execute the task, can the child sue the parent for them to fulfil the promise after the child has executed the task and the parent fails to fulfill the promise?

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What about a boyfriend promising the girlfriend some money or promising to buy the girlfriend a house or a car and the boy fails to fulfil his promises to the girlfriend, can the girlfriend sue the guy for the execution of his promise?

An instance like the above scenarios have been tested in court as far back as 1919 and the court ruling in such an instance was that there is a rebuttable presumption against an intention to create a legally binding and enforceable agreement when the agreement is domestic in nature. This means that when an agreement is made between a husband and a wife or a parent and a child and such contract is a domestic one, it is generally presumed that there is no intention for that contract to be legally binding hence why it may not be enforceable in court.

This principle of rebuttable presumption against an intention to create a legally enforceable agreement in domestic contracts was laid down in the 1919 England case of Balfour v Balfour [1919] 2 KB 571. 

What happened in the case was that in 1915 Mr Balfour promised his wife Mrs Balfour a monthly stipend of 30£. Later on, the husband and wife had a fallout and Mr Balfour was no longer consistent with the payment of the 30£ monthly stipend so Mrs Balfour sued him so that the court will mandate Mr Balfour to keep up his promise of sending her 30£ every month. The court held that the promise made by Mr. Balfour to Mrs. Balfour is domestic in nature and there is a presumption that there was no legal intention backing such a domestic agreement hence why such promise can not be enforced in court. 

This case laid down the locus classicus in legal jurisprudence stating that even when an contract or an agreement has fulfilled and contained every ingredients that makes up a valid contract in law which include; offer, acceptance, consideration etc such a contract may still not be enforceable because it is presumably that  the parties to such contract had no intention for such contract to be legally binding.  Therefore,  once an agreement is of domestic nature it may not be enforceable in court because the parties to the contract had no intention for the contract to be legally binding unless it is proven otherwise. 

Please note that a domestic contract is an agreement reached. between two or more people living in a family or together in a household.

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