Post # 1
Legal bees… hopefully these scenarios won’t happen, but just being safe! For our wedding, we will be using lots of (actually soley) family- and friend-ors… not real vendors or companies. We plan to have a contract with each person so that everyone is sure of their duties and will show up when expected.
If everything is written out with our two signatures as well as the friend-ors signature… is this a binding contract? Or does it need to be notarized? Or what? I want to make sure that our butts are covered if someone doesn’t show up or do their part.
Also, if we have this ‘contract’ and we agree (in the contract) to pay them AFTER the ceremony, but they don’t show up at all… because we have a contract, could we potentially do something about this? I mean, what if a friend was supplying the shuttle busses and then DAY OF doesn’t come through… and I’ve got 100 people stranded. Could I take them to court over that ‘contract’ with our signatures? Or if our photographer doesn’t show up? Even if we hadn’t paid them yet… we were still expecting them.
And, if we pay them before, but they don’t fulfull their duties, can we (with that contract) legally get our money back?
Don’t get me wrong… I definitely understand if someone has a family emergency or something, but I will expect (and this will be in the contract) them to find a replacement.
I apologize for being a poor writer… but I hope you get where I’m coming from! I just want to know how ‘legal’ a ‘contract’ with signatures is.
Post # 3
@LeonardLady: it depends on a lot of factors. If you’re that concerned and would pursue legal action you should work with a lawyer to draw up legally binding contracts.
Post # 4
I am not a lawyer. This is not a legal opinion, nor legal advice. This is based on my personal experience with agreements/contracts.
In most jurisdictions, that is a binding agreement. However, if you write it yourself, the wording may not be fully correct, and so, under the law, it may not actually mean what you think it means. Also, without witnesses, a person can claim they never signed it.
However, if everyone is acting in good faith, I would not foresee a problem. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think your intention is more to make sure that everyone fully understands (on both sides) what has been agreed. If you are doing this to avod miscommunication, and misunderstandings, I think it is a good exercise, and a sufficient measure.
Post # 5
@MrsWBS: Hahah, no way. This is purely hypothetical. The chances of me actually suing anyone EVER in my life are really slim… they would have to do something REALLY bad. I am really just wondering if written contracts with signatures are considered legal or not.
Post # 6
@Duncan: Thanks! Yeah, the contracts I’d make are mainly just to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them. I don’t think I could actually sue someone over something like this. I was just wondering, hypothetically, if someome did… were they legitimate documents. But thanks!
Post # 7
@LeonardLady: Oh gotcha! haha. I took contracts law so long ago (and am not a lawyer!). I know that it’s definitely possible it could be seen as a legal, binding contract (as could some verbal agreements) but there are a lot of nuances when it comes to the law and would also vary by state.
Post # 8
For the question of “what if I’m supposed to pay them after the wedding but they don’t show up, can I take them to court”: You need to spell out any penalties clearly and make sure they’re reasonable. There’s such a thing as an unenforcable contract. For example, if the person providing the shuttle doesn’t show and you’ve not paid them, you would never be able to enforce a contract that says they owe you $100,000 in damages/penalties. The damages exceed what would be reasonable for this failure. A more reasonable clause would be “if the shuttle bus doesn’t show up, then Bride will call taxis for all guests, pay the costs, and present reciepts to Friendor who will reimburse the cost of taxis plus 10% adminitrative/paperwork.”
You basically can’t sue someone to return money you haven’t given them, and when you’re faced with a situation that goes south you also have to apply some self help. So it wouldn’t b reasonable to cancel the wedding because the shuttle didn’t show up then sue the friendor for the costs of the wedding, but it would be reasonable to make alternate transportation arrangements and expect the friendor to reimburse you.
It may be worth spending a little money with a contract-writing service like legalzoom.com to make sure your contracts are properly worded and legally enforcable. legalzoom.com has loads of templates where you basically just fill in your details, so you don’t have to worry about getting the wording just right.
I would also recommend paying the friendor with credit card whenever possible. If they do not deliver their services/goods after you’ve paid or placed a deposit, getting your money back by way of a credit card dispute is a lot easier than going to court.