In the past, most deals were sealed with a handshake. While most of us want to keep the spirit of this practice alive, current laws of liability make that almost impossible. Whether it be a simple purchase or an agreement for services, it is important that you protect yourself with a contract. Contracts do not have to be complicated. Wanting a contract does not mean that you do not trust the other party. Contracts just set forth all of the terms and responsibilities of a deal in order to protect all the parties in case the worst should happen.
Contracts have three parts: offer, acceptance and consideration.
Offer means to present a proposal for acceptance or rejection. For example, “I want to buy your car for $1000.”
Acceptance means to agree to what is proposed in the offer. For example, “OK, I will sell you my car for $1000.”
Consideration makes the contract legally binding. Consideration can be monetary, such as a deposit or earnest money. It may also be nominal, such as the consideration found in a real estate contract.
Contracts must be mutual. That is, the parties must be contracting for the same thing. This is also known as “meeting of the minds.” Using the example above, if one person thinks the car he is buying is a BMW, but the person is actually selling a Mercedes, the contract is not mutual.
If you are considering any type of transaction where money is being exchanged, it is helpful to have a good contract. Contracts can explain in detail all of the duties for everyone involved. It can also contemplate what should happen if anyone breaches the contract before it happens. This can help avoid litigation in the future if anything goes wrong.
If you have a contract with another party and you feel they have broken the agreement, you may be entitled to damages. Damages are the punishment that is imposed by the Court on a party for not doing what they agreed to do under a contract. Sometimes the court will order the at fault party to pay the other party money. Other times the Court will force the other party do what they said they would under the contract. The court can also find that the contract is unenforceable for some reason and order no damages.
Whether you are seeking to create a contract or enforce one, the law Office of A.J. Stickley should be your first call. If you are contemplating a sale or exchange of services, AJ has the ability to assist you in creating an enforceable contract that protects your interest. If you already had a contract and you feel it has been broken, AJ has the ability to represent you in your litigation action.
However he can’t help if you don’t call. If you have a contract need call A.J. today at 941-474-5506.