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Contract disputes and how to avoid them – Part 6
This post is the last in a 6 part series on contract disputes. If you haven’t already read parts 1 – 5, I recommend you do before continuing.
Avoiding contract disputes
Now that we know more about contract disputes, let’s take a look at some strategies for avoiding them.
- Be as clear as possible about each party’s obligations – many contract disputes arise because of unclear or ambiguous expectations. Make sure both parties know exactly what they’re supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it. If you can add a schedule to the contract, that’s a good idea too. Not only will clear, written expectations typically result in a better outcome, but it will help the contract stand up in court later, should it need to.
- Consider a notary – many contracts are signed and honored without the need for a notary. However, if there’s a lot on the line, you may want to consider having signatures notarized. As crazy as it sounds, it’s not unheard of for people to claim they never signed the contract – but that’s not a problem if it’s notarized! Furthermore, people tend to take a notarized contract more seriously, meaning that they’re more likely to read it all and less likely to dispute it later on.
- Consider provisions for early termination – despite everyone’s best intentions, sometimes situations come up where one party needs to get out of the contract. Including provisions for early termination like a notice period can help avoid a contract dispute.
- Stay in (and document) communication – keep careful track of your agreement through the process, so you can catch issues early that could cause a contract dispute. Stay in touch with the other party, and document these communications. For emails, this is easy – simply don’t delete them. You may also want to consider taking a few notes after speaking on the phone with the other party, documenting things like the time and what was said. If you do end up in court later on, all of these things can end up working as evidence in your favor.
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