Sometimes it makes sense to extend a contract deadline, i.e. a delay in one or both parties’ performance.
If an extension makes sense, how do you do it?
After negotiating the terms of the extension, get the details in writing signed by the parties. Ideally, it’s a simple written amendment to the contract that leaves other provisions untouched and enforceable.
Unfortunately, many business owners try to modify a contract informally by a verbal “handshake agreement” or exchanging some emails that don’t adequately describe what’s being agreed to.
This leads to confusion and often anger. And if one party feels screwed by the informal changes made, it’s a recipe for breach of contract and a lawsuit.
Instead, you’ll have an experienced business lawyer prepare the amendment for you to sign. That reduces the legal dangers while giving you what you want when you extend a contract deadline.
What if there are many issues that need to be changed in addition to the deadline extension?
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In those types of situations, it often makes sense to have an amended and restated agreement. This will be the original agreement with the changes made in the document itself. The parties will sign the amended and restated agreement showing the terms and conditions you want now.
In rare instances, it makes sense to terminate the original agreement and sign a new contract that’s prepared from scratch. Your business attorney can advise you on the best way to paper the modified deal, including deadline extensions.
Note that extending a contract deadline is not the same as contract renewal. A renewal keeps the agreement in place for an additional term beyond the current term. For example, at the end of a one-year contract, there may be a provision in the agreement where it can renew for an additional year.