How to Handle Contract Disputes

Contracts are legally binding agreements that need to be understood by all parties involved. When disputes arise, they are difficult to navigate and resolve. If you are engaged in a contract dispute, you are likely frustrated and you want to resolve the dispute in the most efficient manner possible.

While our legal team works with several different types of clients to craft successful contracts, occasionally disputes arise. When they do, at Hamlin | Cody we have extensive experience advising and guiding clients through a dispute resolution to ensure each party is understood.


Understand Your Rights

As a contributing member throughout the contract creation process, each party must understand each part of the contract, both their rights and their obligations. Each party should only sign the contract if they understand the language of the contract. Be sure to clear up any uncertainty you may have before finalizing the document by signing it.

Understand Your Obligations

For every right, there is a corresponding duty. That is, if one party to a contract is entitled to something, another party has a duty to deliver it. Contracts work best when all parties are getting something that is worth more to them than what they are promising to deliver.

Made to be Broken?

It’s a common misconception that contracts are easy to break, that they are not enforceable if it is inconvenient, Nothing could be further from the truth. If all the elements are there, if they are clear, and if nothing has happened to excuse a party’s performance, the courts will enforce a contract.

Another common misconception is that “oral agreements aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.” Oral agreements are more difficult to prove. They are more susceptible to different views of the parties’ rights and obligations. Some types of agreements require a writing of some sort. Once those issues are solved, oral agreements are as enforceable as written agreements.

Avoiding Disputes

A contract is a legally binding document, and each party that signs the contract is expected to follow through on their duties. When most contracts are drafted and signed, all signatures bind the parties together to accomplish mutually compatible goals. But far too often, one party may deviate from the terms set forth in the agreement, and breach a contract.

As prevention is the best cure for disease, careful drafting is the best way to prevent a contract dispute. We recommend clearly stating the facts on which each party to the contract relies. We recommend including a statement of what each party wants to accomplish by the contract. If the parties can agree on the facts and the compatibility of the parties’ objectives, the contract will have a solid foundation.

While disputes may arise, with a statement of agreed facts and compatible goals there is a much better chance of resolving the dispute without litigation.


Every contract is drafted to detail the obligations and responsibilities that are expected from each contributing party. A contract should not be signed if each party is not clear on how they are expected to work together to finish a project.

Contract disputes commonly occur when the parties disagree about the underlying facts, have incompatible goals, or do not fully understand each action item that they are responsible for in the contract. These mis-steps lead not only to contract disputes, but frustrations and delays.

We Can Help

At Hamlin | Cody, we have drafted, among other documents: commercial leases, office leases, residential and commercial property sales contracts, shopping center leases, apartment leases, ground leases, marina leases, notes, deeds of trust, easement purchase and sale agreements, easements, loans with security agreements, and subordination agreements. We work with clients to create contracts, but we also work with clients to understand how to navigate a contract dispute and to achieve their objectives. We use insight, logic and reasoning to draft contracts and to resolve disputes when they arise. Contact us today to schedule a Get Acquainted Call or an Initial Case Evaluation.