“I Wrote My Own Contract: Can It Be Enforced?”
Written contracts that are signed by both parties are generally, with some exceptions, enforceable. There are, however, some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to have a contract prepared by a professional.
If your contract has any ambiguous terms in it or uncertainty, it will generally be construed or interpreted against the party who drafted the contract since they had control over the drafting. An important part of an attorney’s job when drafting a contract is to anticipate problems and issues and make the terms of the contract clear to all involved.
A contract needs to contain all of the terms needed to make it sufficiently detailed so that it can be enforced. Vague contracts cannot be enforced, and they will not be enforced if the judge or jury cannot determine what the contract actually means.
Another consideration is whether or not to put in an attorney’s fees provision to protect you if you have to bring a lawsuit to enforce the contract. You may also need damage limitations (often times called liquidated damage clauses) in certain kinds of contracts.
In short, while you can in fact write your own contract and have it enforced by the court, it is almost always a good idea to have a contract drafted by a professional to ensure (a) that the contract clearly states the terms that you have agreed to, and (b) can be enforced in the ways that you wish if the other party breaches the contract.
DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.