What factors can make a contract unenforceable?

Entering into any contractual agreement is a decision that should not be made lightly. You should first make sure that you understand what you are being asked to sign, know your options for negotiating changes and be sure that it is an enforceable document.

Unfortunately, too many people overlook this last part and they learn the hard way that a contract -- or a part of the contract -- is invalid. In this post, we will examine three elements to look out for when signing a contract to make sure it is valid.

As discussed further in this FindLaw article, the following are common errors in contracts that affect whether they can be enforced or not.

  1. Questionable signing circumstances: Before any person signs a contract, it should be clear that he or she is being given time to review the document. It is also crucial that the person signing the contract is mentally fit and has not been pressured to do so by anyone else. If a party feels rushed, coerced or tricked into signing something, then it may ultimately be unenforceable.
  2. Inaccurate statements or clauses: Reviewing a contract closely is crucial so that you can identify any inaccuracies or mistakes. Addressing these before signing a contract will help to minimize the chances of false or incorrect information rendering the contract void.
  3. Unfair or illegal terms: Contracts that are incredibly unfair can be found to be unenforceable, as can contracts that include violations of public policy. If there are clauses in a contract that strip one party of legally protected rights or are inherently unfair, a court may certainly decide that a contract cannot be enforced.

It can be difficult to understand what to look for and what to question when it comes to contracts, especially if you do not have a legal background and familiarity with contract procedures. Because of this, it can crucial that you have the guidance and assistance of an attorney whenever you are faced with signing or creating a contract.