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Oral Contracts vs. Written Contracts in Florida

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Contracts are commonplace in business, providing an outline for the relationship between two or more parties. However, even with a contract in place, the potential for a dispute to arise is always there. When there are disagreements over terms or one party’s adherence to a contract, the type of contract one is dealing with will be a determining factor in how the issue is resolved.

There are some key differences regarding the law’s stance on oral and written contracts that those entering into legally binding agreements should know about. With help from a Miami contract dispute attorney, one can better understand these differentiating factors. Our legal team has outlined some below.

Oral Contracts

Agreements do not necessarily have to be expressed in writing and signed to be upheld in court. In the state of Florida, oral contacts may be legally binding if they contain:
• A mutually agreed upon offer, made by one party and accepted by the other
• An agreement to exchange something of value for another thing of value, such as a rendering of services for the exchange of money

That said, even when both of these elements are present in an oral contract, it may not hold water if put before a judge. While there are some actions that can improve one’s chances of having a verbal agreement upheld, such as having a third party witness the agreement and/or exchange, a written contract is always preferable since it more clearly lays out the specifications of the contract. In fact, for matters like real estate transactions, an oral contract is not valid at all if a formally written contract does not also accompany it.

That isn’t the only benefit to having a written contract. Having a formal written agreement in place also gives each party additional time to take legal action regarding a contract dispute. If an oral contract is deemed to be valid, the plaintiff only has four years from its execution to file a lawsuit regarding a dispute under Florida’s statute of limitations. On the other hand, the statute of limitations for written contracts is five years.

Written Contracts

A written contract must contain the same two elements listed above in order to be valid. However, there are some other steps one can take to protect his or her interests should a dispute occur. For example, having a contract attorney draft the agreement and witness its execution not only supports its validity, but is an excellent way to avoid common issues related to contract disputes. Additionally, depending on the nature of the agreement, there may be particular clauses or language that must be incorporated to make it enforceable.

To learn more about creating an enforceable contract in Florida, contact a Miami contract dispute attorney at Graham Legal. Our team can help you seek justice for a contract dispute, or create a well-drafted contract on your behalf to prevent a dispute from happening in the first place.

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