For many, contracts and the legal matters surrounding them are intimidating, and it’s not uncommon for someone to end up in over their heads in a negotiation when they don’t understand a contract. On the flipside, drafting a contract requires extensive knowledge of contract law as well. To protect yourself from legal or financial harm, it’s important to stay informed and/or seek aid in contract law Anthem AZ.
What Makes a Valid Contract
In most cases, just two elements are strictly needed for a contract to be legally binding: an exchange of an item of value—money, goods or services—for another item of value, and an agreement between all parties on this exchange. State laws sometimes require contracts to be written, such as for real estate or for agreements lasting over a year; even when not required, though, it’s often a good idea to have a contract in writing to prove its validity.
A valid agreement depends on a common understanding of what’s being agreed upon. Be sure to ask for clarification on vague terms—for example, what the client considers to be a “defect” in a project and what a “reasonable period” to fix it would be. If you’re writing the contract, don’t assume the other party will know what you mean here—just write what you’re saying.
Read and Reread
Take the time to go over the contract before signing, ideally more than once. This is your chance to decide if you need to negotiate on the terms. Saying you don’t agree to something because you didn’t read the contract is generally not permissible in court. It also helps to have a trusted third party look it over as well.
Turn to a Professional Attorney
Calling an attorney is well worth the cost for any significant contract, whether you’re writing or receiving it. A certified contract attorney is familiar with both federal and state contract law and knows what sorts of issues can arise with the specifics of a legally binding agreement. In addition, if a breach of contract occurs, your attorney will be able to help you make your case.