It seemed simple at the time. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving came up with their own written contract on the back on a napkin. The contract was intended to act as a prenuptial agreement. Apparently, the court did not find the language acceptable. It was an example of a simple written contract gone badly. It speaks of the need to understand the basics of contract law. It is the reason to retain an attorney with experience in writing business agreements.
A contract can be written on a napkin or a business card. However, valid contracts have some requirements. You may know that handshake agreements are acceptable to some types of businesses. However, it is more difficult to prove the intentions of an oral agreement.
In order for a contract to be considered enforceable under New Jersey contract law, there are four basic requirements. They are outlined as follows:
- An Offer – A party, which may be an individual or some business entity offers to perform a service or sell goods at a set rate.
- Acceptance of the Offer: The party accepts the offer.
- Consideration – Something of value is promised in the contract. For example, this could mean a promise to perform services or pay money.
Important Contract Language
There are many types of contracts that are important to businesses. For example, a company may wish to set up vendor agreements. There may be language necessary to protect trade secrets and confidentiality. Most contracts are intentionally specific concerning terms of service and payment.
Business agreements are best written by an experienced attorney, who is familiar with the law and prospective tax consequences. Anyone who is asked to sign a business contract should also review its contents with legal counsel. Some matters for consideration include:
- Does the contract correctly identify the parties?
- Is there a valid offer within the contract?
- Is the offer acceptable?
- Are the terms of the agreement satisfactory?
- Is the language of the contract clear or possibly ambiguous?
- Has a payment schedule been memorialized in the contract?
- Are there any discrepancies not addressed in the contract?
Entering into any type of legal agreement should be viewed as a serious matter. At the Law Offices of Lawrence Centanni, we recognize the importance of creating contracts that are binding and enforceable. Contact us to learn how we can help you assemble or review your business agreements.