An old quote that has been around a long time is one that many business people in North Carolina are likely to be familiar with. It goes, “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Another adage, slightly tangential but perhaps no less important, comes from the halls of journalism. It runs, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
The wisdom behind these two statements should be rather obvious to most readers. The second one reinforces the notion that it’s important to have a healthy level of skepticism about any statement someone makes, no matter how close in relationship they may be.
The first reminds us that agreements can be made in a lot of different ways, but that to avoid possible contract disputes and ensure that terms can be legally enforced, it’s best to have them properly documented and duly recorded. It’s wise to have an attorney’s help in this regard.
If you happen to do a Google search for the term “get it in writing,” among the links that will likely turn up is one from FindLaw that deals with the basics of contracts. The site offers the insightful observation that it is possible for a businessperson to establish a contract without even realizing. All it might take is a nod of agreement about the exchange of one thing of value for another.
Even if the terms of the deal are put in writing, there still might be a dispute. But if a written contract exists, it becomes a lot easier to resolve it.
There are different routes to settling contract disagreements. The first, which is always worth considering, is through informal means such as direct talks. If those efforts fail, mediation or arbitration might be tried. If all else fails, it may be time to turn to the courts.
Not only do most of the avenues provide the possibility of reaching resolution for less cost, but by providing options that may be less adversarial, it might also be possible to maintain important relationships into the future.