Amending Your Business Contract is Easier, and More Complicated, Than You Think

So you want to amend an existing business contract, tweak a few key details. The process might be an easy one, or it could be incredibly difficult depending on the proposed changes and the parties involved. We’ll examine the simple, yet sometimes frustrating, process of adding or subtracting from a business contract so you (as a business owner) can make informed decisions the next time you need to alter a written agreement.

Getting it All in Writing

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Anyone will tell you getting an agreement, business-related or otherwise, strengthens the contract and makes its provisions stronger – that is more enforceable – in court. Amending a previously agreed to contract doesn’t necessarily require you to get the changes down on paper. The court’s reasoning for this has been that no clause or provision in a contract can bar either party from their ability to alter the agreement. As a party to the contract, you have rights to request that agreement be altered verbally or non-verbally.

Written Amendments Have Advantages

Amending a business contract in writing has its advantages. One obvious benefit is the fixing of contractual language and the requirements of all parties involved. There’s no squabbling later over who agreed to what with a written document. All parties read the document. All parties agreed to the revised terms. In a verbal arrangement, memories can fade over time, which can lead to disagreements down the road. It can be much more difficult to sort through the terms of a verbal agreement, and compel other parties to hold up their ends of the bargain in court.

All Parties Must Agree to New Terms

Just as when your company originally agreed to the contract, all parties must agree to the revised agreement for it to be valid. Just because your business, or another party involved, wants to alter the terms, doesn’t mean they can without obtaining consent – and the proper signatures. Avoid verbal “yeah, I read the document” because they won’t usually stand up in court if there’s a problem later. The affirmative you got over the phone could turn into a “I never agreed to that” in front of a judge. When your business is on the line, have all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed.  

Avoid Vague Language in Revised Terms

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Be as concise as possible when crafting language for an amended agreement. The last you want as a business owner is to create a document riddled with ambiguous language and vague terms. Any vagueness in the contract goes against the drafter, meaning a court rule against your business in settling a dispute based on terms you wrote. Keep it simple, and make certain everyone understands the new terms.

Creating a new business contract or amending a previous agreement can be intricate work for those not versed in the particulars of commercial business law. Allow our experienced business contract attorneys in Pennsylvania to handle your next new agreement, or amendment of an old one. Call us today to discuss your situation, and what we can do to help your company achieve its goals.