Civil litigation as a means to resolving a contract dispute

Californians enter into contracts each and every day. They may open new credit cards and agree to the terms and conditions set forth by the lenders. They may sign their children up for day care and agree to the payment and scheduling terms of the providers. They may start new jobs and agree not to use any of their new employers' business secrets in ways that would damage the employers' profits and growth. Put simply, contracts govern many of the relationships that individuals make with others who offer goods and services.

To understand how a contract dispute may arise a reader should understand the very basics of how a contract is formed. Generally, a party must make an offer to another party, and that offer may be for goods or the performance of services in exchange for either payment or a return performance. If the party that receives the offer agrees with the terms of exchange and is willing to provide the consideration desired by the offering party, a contract may be formed.

Contracts can be written and in some cases may be verbal. It is to the benefit of the contracting parties to be as clear and explicit as they can with regard to what is expected of each under the contract. Terms such as timing, payment, delivery location, and others can all be vital to the success of the parties' performance under the agreement.

When a contract suffers from ambiguity or simply does not include all of the terms that are necessary for the parties to know their responsibilities under the agreement, disagreements can arise. While some contracts will stipulate that arbitration or other methods of dispute resolution are required to resolve questions, others may permit the parties to go to court through civil litigation to resolve their differences. As discussed in this post, an offer and acceptance is the foundation of any contract, but more terms are often needed to prevent questions from later arising and causing problems for the parties.

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