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Everyone starts a business deal with the expectation

everything will go properly. However, there are
situations where things go awry. If you have a signed
contract and you feel the other party has not upheld
their side of the bargain, a contract dispute would be
the next phase. Business deals will require the
intervention of an experienced contract attorney to
handle the proceedings. No contract is perfect, and
disputes can arise. What is the best way to handle a
dispute?

Potential Issues
Contract law is often a complex subject area as it
covers such a broad range of issues in modern
society. When you buy a product (a computer
program for example) and there is an enclosed
warranty in the box, you have just formed a contract
with the manufacturer of that product. If you agreed
to sell your bike to a neighbor in exchange for them
mowing your lawn every month over a certain
period, you have formed a contract. Put simply,
almost any agreement between two or more people
(or companies) could have potential contract law
implications.

There are some issues that repeatedly come up in contracts
and disputes over them.
Contract Formation
• An important question in every situation is whether or not a
contract even exists. Contrary to what many believe, not all
contracts need to be in writing. However, a verbal contract
must conform to strict regulations in order to require a
person to act under the agreement.
• At a basic level, a contract must contain a mutual agreement
between parties to take certain actions. The actions could
be paying money for goods and services, exchanging goods,
exchanging services, or not taking particular action in
exchange for some compensation.
• If someone is attempting to enforce a contract against you
that you don’t believe was ever actually formed, an attorney
will be able to review the relevant facts and provide
guidance. Similarly, if you would like to enforce a contract
against an individual, an attorney can also help in that
regard. In order to prevent such disputes in the future, it
may be wise to consult an attorney before entering into
formal agreements, to ensure that the formal requirements
of a contract are addressed.
Validity of a Contract
• Another similar question revolves around whether a
contract is actually valid and enforceable. This issue
acknowledges that a formal contract between parties was
created, and questions whether or not it should be
enforced.
• There are many considerations which modern courts
consider in order to determine the issue of validity. Most
center around concerns of public policy, such as contracts
that are reached through fraud or deceit. Courts consistently
hold these types of contracts invalid. Additionally, contracts
that are now impossible to complete, due to an unforeseen
occurrence may also be declared invalid.

Performance Under a Contract
Typically, contracts require both parties to take some
form of action. At times, one party will not be
required to act until the other party completes their
end of the agreement. For example, say you entered
into a contract to have someone paint your house in
exchange for $500. Your obligation to pay the
painters the $500 does not arise until they complete
the job. (More complex issues arise when dealing
with violating a contract in the middle of one party
performing their obligations. Suffice it to say, if you
think this is your case, you will likely need to seek
assistance from an attorney immediately.)
Once one party has fulfilled their end of the
agreement, the other party will often be required to
do so as well.
Any of these issues can create the need to consider
legal action against a party to the agreement, and
may result in legal action being brought against you.
Should either of these circumstances be the case, it
will be important for you to act quickly-and it would
likely be advisable that you seek legal counsel.

Contact an Attorney to Help You Through the
Litigation Process
When a dispute arises, it is essential that you act
quickly because there are often strict deadlines for
certain actions. Importantly, you will need to start
gathering all of the documentation surrounding the
contract and, if applicable, obtain copies of key
documents such as; anything with signature(s),
relevant photographs and drawings. These will be
helpful for your attorney to begin work on the case
immediately, and your organization of these
documents will be beneficial for the attorney to
begin analyzing your case.

Attorneys are essential in guiding you through a
litigation process that can often be too complicated
for individuals unfamiliar with the court system to
navigate. Specifically, there are steps your attorney
can take you through, in order to strive toward an
optimal result for your claim
• Informal Negotiations
First, informal negotiations between your attorney
and the opposing party (or their attorney) could
resolve the dispute before either party incurs court
costs or accrues excessive legal fees.
• Mediation
Next, your attorney could lead you through a more
formal mediation process where a third party will
review the case and suggest a particular course of
action.

• Arbitration
Often, the contract language will specify formal
Arbitration Process as being the desired method of
dispute resolution. Should this be the case, it will be
spelled out in your contract as to the applicable rules
that apply. Your attorney will be able to guide you
through this area, that is typically more cost effective
for the parties, but can sometimes be more
procedurally complicated.
Here, a licensed Arbitrator will hand down a binding
decision upon the parties.
• Litigation
Formal litigation proceedings are typically the last
resort, when parties truly cannot agree on an
amicable solution. At this stage an attorney is
absolutely essential because of the complex
requirements imposed by the Civil Court System.
This process could involve in depth investigation
(Discovery) and several Court Hearings, before a
result is reached. Beyond the initial Trial, subsequent
appeals may be brought on behalf of the losing
party, which will only further complicate the
process.
(It is important to note here that a settlement may
be reached at any point during this process)

Remedies
Ultimately, your attorney will work toward
recovering one of several different types of remedies
depending on your specific situation. These can
include a simple cash award for reimbursement for
any damage caused by the breach of contract, an
Order for one party to perform on their end of the
contract, and (in rare cases) money to penalize the
actions of the other party (that may include attorney
fees.)

Does Any of This Sound Applicable to Your
Situation?
The process of handling a contract dispute is a
challenge for anyone. Contract disputes may include
a number of legal concepts, which often become
complicated. If you need assistance with a contract
dispute process, let our knowledgeable legal team
help you work through this situation. Contact Covelli
Law Offices today for a free initial consultation.