Contracts – voluntary, legally binding agreements between two or more parties – are critical to doing business. We encounter contracts nearly every day. They can cover major deals, such as the sale of a business or a home, or something as simple as a verbal promise to complete something. Whether they’re written or verbal, commercial contracts can:
- Protect individuals and business owners.
- Clarify and preserve relationships – bet ween companies and vendors, for example.
- Potentially prevent expensive lawsuits.
But as important, and prevalent, as they are, contracts aren’t written in stone. The law provides for ways to negotiate contracts – both before and after you’ve put pen to paper. If you’re in the middle of negotiating a contract, don’t proceed any further without getting professional legal help. Get in touch with a Colorado commercial litigation attorney before signing anything.
Before You Sign
For a contract to be effective, it must include an offer, an acceptance of that offer, and an exchange of consideration (a legal term for something of value). Without these elements, there simply isn’t a contract. It would be a little like trying to marry someone who never said yes.
Obviously, before anyone agrees to anything, both parties should examine the proposed contract closely. If anything is unclear or there are issues, it’s best to consult with a lawyer rather than attempting to make changes yourself. Contracts frequently – and not always intentionally –favor one party over another or may leave out crucial details that could become bigger problems later on.
After You Sign
Frequently, parties to a contract might want to make changes to a contract after it’s been signed. Someone might want to extend the time period of contract, cut it short, or change the scope of the contract to include other products or services, for example.
Contracts can also be drafted proactively as to include provisions for future changes. If the contract doesn’t include such a provision, you need to discuss the desired changes with the other party or parties, and then to be safe include a written amendment that addresses them.
Finally, there may be situations where the parties are unable or unwilling to agree to changes. At that point, it may be best to either walk away from the agreement or start again from scratch. In extreme cases, and if the disagreement arises after the contract’s been signed, it might be worth it to consider breaking the contract.
If you find yourself stuck trying to draft a contract, or if you need help getting out of a bad one, our Colorado commercial litigation lawyers can help. Call Burg Simpson at 303-792-5595 for help with your contract issues.