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In Markarian, the parties negotiated a final divorce decree around February 2010, but it was not filed in court. The parties then negotiated their divorce for more than a year, although no party formally revoked their approval of the final decree. One of the parties then submitted a response and a counter-action. The next day, the other party submitted the final decree previously signed, which the court accepted during questioning. It is impossible to predict the circumstances under which an oral agreement might not be applicable. People change lawyers, and a new lawyer will not be aware of oral agreements until they are hired. It is dangerous to rely on the assurance that the agreement does not need to be written. If a lawyer is removed from a case or becomes incapable of acting, there is nothing to force without the written agreement. Can a party revoke its consent to a section 11 agreement? Maybe. As decided in ExxonMobil Corp. against Valencia Operating Co., a party may revoke its consent to a Rule 11 agreement at any time prior to the judgment. However, even in this case, a court is not prevented from applying an Article 11 agreement as soon as the agreement has been rejected by one of the parties.

Just because a written exchange is in accordance with Rule 11 does not mean that it is applicable. It can only be applied if it contains the essential terms. Article 11 refers to circumstances in which an agreement is NOT enforceable. It is not necessary for all of the Agreements under Rule 11 to be applicable. An agreement may contain the requirements of Rule 11 and still cannot be applicable for any other reason. Since agreements are governed by contract law under Rule 11, an action to enforce a Rule 11 agreement, for which consent has been withdrawn, must be based on proper documentation and evidence. A party seeking enforcement must pursue a separate breach of contract law and, as with most contractual claims in Texas, legal fees can be recovered if the movant prevails. This process is also likely to be an expensive consequence, unrelated to the underlying issues.

Dan