A contract is a legally binding agreement, and the laws that pertain to contracts can be very difficult to understand. This is where a Florida contract attorney can help. Contracts are one of those things that states have jurisdiction over. This means they can make their own laws regarding how contracts are handled in their state. Each state has different laws regarding contracts and each state has a contracts attorney that focuses on contracts made and breached within their state.
What is a contract?
By definition, a contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties that obligates the parties to do or not to do certain things. These parties can be made up of multiple people, a single person, or a business. For the law to recognize a contract as a legally enforceable agreement, there are specific steps to be made. First there must be an offer made, then that offer must me accepted, and lastly there must be sufficient consideration of the accepted offer. Consideration is the actual act, promise, goods, services, or money that is offered and accepted.
For example, let’s say that a lawn service company offered to mow your lawn twice a month for three months, at $25 a mow, and you accepted the offer. For the contract to be valid the lawn service company must mow your lawn and you must actually pay them for their service. For a contract to be binding and enforceable there must be an exchange of consideration, which in our example was lawn service for money.
Often, at least one of the parties involved in a contract tends to be a business or businessperson. In order to make sure they will be paid; businesses make offers to their clients and customers will either accept the offer or turn them down. Take the lawn service company from our example. They offered you their services for a price, you accepted that offer, and you both did what was agreed upon. They made money because they held up their end of the contract, and you held up yours. Many businesses opt to have business contract attorneys look over their contracts to make sure they are in line with the law.
Written vs. Oral Contracts
Once more, let us look at our example with the lawn service company. It was never mentioned when or even if you ever signed an actual hard copy of a contract, or if the service and payment was simply agreed upon during a conversation. Let’s say that the lawn service provider is a neighborhood college student who wanted to make extra funds during the summer. Upon explaining his offer, you accepted his offer without signing a thing. Is the contract still binding and legally enforceable? The answer is yes. In the state of Florida, an oral contract is valid unless it is related to the sale of real estate, or the consideration cannot be made within a year. A Florida contract attorney would be able to answer any questions you may have about oral contracts such as these.
For a contract involving the buying and selling of real estate or considerations that will be made over a year, they must be written contracts in order to be valid. In our example, there is no buying or selling of real estate and the lawn service will be provided over the next three months, which would be paid for each time. This in effect, makes it a valid oral contract. Oral contracts tend to be much simpler than written contracts and do not always require the help of an attorney. If you plan on entering a written a contract it is a good idea to have the help of a business contract attorney. They will make sure your terms are legal and reasonable, and if you are on the accepting end, they will ensure it is a feasible deal for you.
Written contracts are usually chock full of legal terms such as “liquidated damages,” “special damages,” “consequential damages,” “court costs,” and “default.” These are terms that usually only lawyers know and understand which is why written contracts are usually drafted and reviewed by a Contract law attorney. If you are offering or accepting a written contract in Florida, your best bet is to find a Florida contract attorney for guidance.
Understanding a Breach of Contract
What happens if the lawn service provider stops showing up after the first month of the three-month period, which you agreed upon? This scenario is known as a breach of contract. If there is a breach of contract, you can sue the individual or company. Looking at our scenario once more, even though this was an oral contract, you can still sue the lawn service company to enforce the contract. This means you may either have the lawn service company fulfill their promise to mow your lawn for three months as the contract stated, or you can have them pay money instead of providing the lawn service. Sometimes in this case you may need a litigation attorney.
The time in which you must enforce contracts varies depending on the contract type. The deadline for filing a lawsuit to enforce a contract in Florida may be as little as one year after the agreement was made but can extend to five years. Written contracts usually have an enforceable deadline of five years, and oral contracts usually have a deadline of four years. Deadlines can quickly become extremely complicated; therefore, it is a good idea to talk to your Florida contract attorney if you wish to sue because of a contract breach.
If you are the party being sued for breaching a contract, the first thing you should do is talk to a breach of contract attorney. With reviewing your case they may be able to help prove that you in fact did not breach the contract or help find Florida statutes that qualify the contract as invalid, unenforceable, or not binding.
Arbitration only occurs if the contracts have a clause that says disputes will be decided by arbitration instead of by a judge or jury, in the court of law. An arbitrator is a person who is trained to determine the outcome of contract disputes. If you are the complaining party, then you will be the one responsible for paying the arbitrator before they will ever hear your case. The arbitrator will also be paid as the case progresses, which can make the arbitrator fees more than the amount of money in dispute.
Signing a contract with an arbitration clause is a decision that should not be taken lightly. In order to make sure you are completely comfortable with any contract, be there an arbitration clause included or not, it is a good idea to talk over the terms with a reliable Florida contract attorney who can give you guidance as to what is best for you.
Locating a Reputable Florida Contract Attorney
Contracts and contract law are very complex. There are many consequences that can accompany entering into a contract. Because of these reasons, the Florida Supreme Court restricts non-lawyers from drafting contracts, particularly written contracts. When a lawyer is hired to draft a contract, they do so with their client’s wants, needs, and rights in mind. Unfortunately, though, each year numerous Florida residents lose money because they entered into a contract that they did not completely understand. They do not understand the terms of the contract, and they do not know what to do if the other party breaches the agreement. If these Floridians sought the advice of a lawyer before entering into the contract or when the other party breached, they would have prevented losing money.
The best piece of advice to be given in terms of contracts is to never agree to anything you do not understand. With contracts so full of legalese it can be hard for a person without a legal background to grasp what a contract says. Contract lawyers can help their clients understand what the consequences of a contract are. They also can review what the contract says and explain it to their clients in simple, clear terms. Florida is a highly populated state, which means there are all sorts of contracts being drafted, agreed to, and breached. Because there is so much demand for lawyers with an understanding of contract law, there have been a lot of lawyers who have chosen to specialize in that field of law.
Finding the right lawyer with a contract law background can seem overwhelming. Luckily though, in Clermont Florida there is a law firm that has what you may need. The law offices of Bret Jones, P.A. Attorneys and Counselors have drafted, reviewed, and dealt with many contracts both written and oral. If you are looking for or an attorney to help with a contract dispute, the team at Bret Jones, P.A. the knowledge, understanding, and compassion to help you. There is not a better team of Florida contract attorneys than that at Bret Jones, P.A, your Business Law Firm.
The Florida Bar http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/0a94a6dc28e76ae58525700a005d0d53/6a653200b74c8a2085257405007a3ac3!OpenDocument