How To Reach An Amicable Resolution In A Contract Dispute

Daren Brown
By Daren Brown | March 21, 2019
Contract disputes occur from time to time despite everyone’s efforts to avoid them. Most times, all parties involved in a contract dispute would like to see an amicable resolution. Yet contract disputes are some of the most difficult legal disagreements to settle. The primary barrier to a peaceful settlement is in part due to the fact that many clients don’t realize that there are two types of contracts and that both are legally binding: oral and written.

Yes, oral contracts do have a certain degree of validity, depending on the circumstances, but to insure that there's a clear understanding of and agreement to the spoken terms, most lawyers recommend backing up your oral agreement with a written contract. That way everyone starts out on the same page; violations and breaches of the contract are clearly provable, and any disputes that arise are easily settled.

If everything is really that easy to orchestrate, why do people get into contract disputes in the first place? It all hinges on how you cross those t’s and dot those i’s.

How Does a Contract Dispute Start?

Sometimes the dispute starts before the contract is even signed.

When collaborating on a project or accepting a service, there are individuals and vendors who view signing a contract as a risk or a threat to their livelihood rather than a mutually beneficial insurance policy. If you're dealing with someone like this, tread lightly. You could get lucky and wind up with a genuine go-to resource. However, if things go south do not agree to a partnership and find someone else who is not afraid to work under contract. The headaches of dealing with a leery individual or a shady company are not worth investing in.

Before you come to that decisive crossroads, there are a couple of different ways you can broach the contractual subject.

  1. Present it as the aforementioned “mutually beneficial insurance policy.” Meaning it makes sure they get paid fairly in a timely manner and you get the quality service that’s worth paying for.

  2. Get a second opinion. Disputes over contract terms are common. Get a bid and signed contract statement from another vendor. Often times, when a difficult vendor sees someone else is willing to contract with you, they are more likely to agree to the terms in writing. 

Keep a close, but not overbearing, eye on things from that point on to make sure the terms are adhered to.

Why Do Contract Disputes Happen?

The most frequent problem with contracts stems from misinterpretation or a lack of understanding.

Contracts are full of legal jargon that may not always make sense. Do not just sign on the dotted line blindly. Always have a lawyer review, or better yet, draft a pending contract. It’s the only sure-fire way everyone involved will understand the document they are signing.

There are a few contracts to steer clear of completely:

  • Auto-filled contracts
  • Self-drafted contracts
  • Contracts that haven’t been reviewed by an attorney

According to Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo, Texas these are the contracts most likely to end in dispute. Have their legal staff draft or review the document instead. It will reduce the possibility of a disagreement and swiftly resolve any issue that do arise.

SJB Law Firm
photo credit- Dia™ via photopin cc

Topics: Law