Florida Legal Services for Contract Law and Related Issues
Our Law Firm's Contract Related Services For You:
Our experienced business and contract law attorneys are ready to help you through all your contract related issues. Whether you are trying to protect your interests through a contract, or whether someone has breached your contact, the lawyers at Arcadier and Associates are here to help.
What is a contract:
A contract is generally understood to be a set of terms and conditions upon which actions are promised to be (or in some cases, not to be) performed which is mutually agreed upon by two or more parties.
Under Florida law, a contract does not exist unless it is made with consideration. An agreement requires fulfilling certain criteria to even be considered a contract and be legally recognized in the first place.
For a contract to be recognized, it requires to have the following elements:
- The Offer: Where one party promises to (or not to) perform certain actions which lawfully could be performed under normal circumstances.
- The Consideration: There receiving party has something to offer in return as consideration for the services and actions the offering party has presented in the contract.
- Acceptance: Both parties must mutually agree upon the terms and conditions of the contract.
It is thus evident that a contract cannot have one – sided consideration where only one party gains while the second party stands to lose.
The terms and conditions in the contract too, must be reasonable and should not demand something that no sane person under unreasonable pressure would agree to.
Contracts bind two parties with a set of conditions where both parties have assumed roles of responsibilities. This is why a contract is required to be signed and accepted only when neither party are:
- Under great stress as defined by duress.
- Intoxicated or incapacitated.
- Mentally handicapped.
A contract also cannot bind an individual into performing anything which involves breaking the law. And lastly, a contract cannot force a party to perform something that could be, in a foreseeable manner be detrimental to self or others or forced to do something damaging to public interest or society.
Contracts can, however, have clauses and conditions which could come into effect or cease to be in force, after a certain period of time especially in cases of contract breach.
A contract must be as specific about the details of the agreement as possible. This reduces the likelihood for ambiguities while arguing under cases of breach or bargaining.
Most contracts have clauses which come into force in case of contract breach which are generally agreed upon by both parties. However, such cases can be taken to court where legal remedies are sought.
Normally the compensation is monetary in nature. Damages are paid to compensate for the losses incurred by the second party or the consequential damages that would be suffered as a result of the breach or what the expected losses are due to the breach. In cases where no actual losses have been incurred, a nominal penalty is paid.
Specifics about the money involved in transaction, the duration of the validity of the contract and the various terms mentioned in the clauses require absolute clarity. Since a contract is of a binding nature, it is an advantageous proposition to ensure rigidity and reliability in any agreement being made between parties. This could lead to scenarios where one party insists upon the agreement being signed over in an official contract of legal binding. This is called an “adhesion contract” where one party cannot achieve the desired services without entering into a contract with the second party. The law permits such contracts as long as the conditions laid are reasonable.
The complexity of contract law is further experienced when there is a quasi contract. A quasi contract occurs when some of the elements of an actual contract is not met. This can occur when there is a promise (without consideration) but an individual relies on that promise. This is called promissory estoppel or reliance. Oral contracts are also generally enforceable unless they fall under the Statute of Frauds. Partial performances also add a layer of complexity which requires an experienced attorney to properly address the rights, damages, and compensability of the partial breach.
Indeed, given the complex nature of contract law, it is always advisable to engage a lawyer or a trial attorney, especially when there breach of contract or other complex pre-litigation matters. In initial consultation for guidance and direction is also highly recommended.
Regardless of the complexity or simplicity of your contract related needs, Arcadier and Associates has the experience to address your needs.