Yes, You Really Do Need a Written Contract
A contract is both more and less than what most of us think it is. A contract is any enforceable agreement between two or more parties that contains and exchange of promises to do or refrain from doing something. In one of the promising parties fails to act in accordance with the terms of their promise, they are said to have breached the contract. The breaching party can be held liable for such a breach and be required to pay damages or take other actions as a court may so order
Most people enter into and complete or execute contracts on an almost daily basis with out actually realizing it. These contracts are oral exchanges of promises that could, if the necessary elements are present, be enforced in a court of law. That being said, if these agreements were written as opposed to oral, resorting to a court would become far less necessary. Furthermore, most states have adopted laws that preclude any oral contracts from being enforced if the subject matter of the agreement is valued above $500. In practical terms this means that any contract one may believe they have made orally will be worthless if they were to file suit for breach if the value of the material in question was worth more than $500. This simply means: Get it in writing; which a business attorney can help you do.
The recording of the terms of the agreement is essential to provide evidence of the intent of the parties if and when the time comes where the parties to the contract are in dispute over the original terms and their significance. Relationships change, people change, the interests of parties to a contract change, sometimes quickly and drastically. A well-drafted contract is essential to protecting the interests and rights of each and every party to the agreement. The contract will give rules regarding how disputes should be settled; what time restraints or conditions exist; what monies, assets or other items will be involved and in what quantities; and also, what the expectations and obligations for each party shall be.
Taking contract disputes to the courthouse for a judicial resolution is time consuming, potentially very expensive, and generally not conducive to the spirit or cooperation or even mutual trust in the business world. The right contract, including all the foreseeable issues and positions agreed upon, will protect each part to the contract from these harsh negative realities associated with resorting to trials and litigation. A business lawyer is essential when drafting contracts because often a lawyer is required to get proper language.
What is more, the consistent resort to written contracts, especially in the business environment, demonstrates intelligent forethought and responsibility on the part of the requesting parties. Though it would certainly be impossible to predict every possible issue that may one day arise on the day of drafting and signing the document, a written contract gives a far better sense of certainty regarding the issues and aspects of the agreement that it does address. A good contact is an extra insurance policy for you or your business in all of your business related dealings.