Does A Contract Have To Be Written Down To Be Enforceable?

Although there are specific situations in which a contract has to be written to be enforceable under what is called the “Statute of Frauds,” in general, a contract does not havecontract to be in writing to be enforceable.

An oral contract is considered legally equal to a written contract and is as equally binding upon both parties. The more important aspect of contract is not whether it is written or oral, however, but what the terms of the contract are.

To be a legal contract there must be three parts:

1) An offer from one person to another,

2) Acceptance of that offer by another party, and

3) Some form of consideration or benefit that is received by both parties to the contract.

If your agreement satisfies all three of these elements, then your contract is valid regardless of whether or not it is in writing. As many can foresee, when dealing with an oral contract problems arise when parties to the contract disagree. When an oral contract is at issue in a disagreement between the two contracted parties, it is much more difficult to enforce the terms. When faced with this situation, it is helpful if there are emails or other correspondence between the parties that outline the agreement or discuss what was orally agreed to. If no such writing memorializing the oral contract exists, then it is possible that one or more parties will deny the oral contract ever existed or deny the terms of the oral contract. If a case is ever brought to trial based on an oral contract dispute, it is very difficult for both sides to demonstrate whether a contract existed or prove/dispute the terms of that contract.

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