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If a contract is signed between 2 parties and is not notarized or witnessed by anyone other than the 2 affected parties, is it still "legal" &binding

1 Answers. Asked on Aug 25th, 2011 on Contracts - West Virginia
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This contract is between a divorcing husband and wife over a monetary arrangement. One of the parties wants out of the agreement and I just wanted to see if this document is held to the same standard as a document that was witnessed/notarized or if it''s more like a "verbal" agreement and won''t hold up.
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Answered on Sep 04th, 2011 at 7:52 PM

In general, a contract does not need to be notarized or witnessed to be binding.  (Of course there are exceptions, such as those imposed for wills, for recording real estate documents, and possibly, involving divorce arrangements.)  But for most contracts, we do not generally require them to be witnessed or notarized, to be "legal."  The notary removes the issue as to the identity of the parties signing the contract.  But, it is not usually a prerequisite of a binding agreement.  Oral agreements are also generally binding (with some exceptions, such as contracts relating to the debts of another, real estate, or promises that will take over a year ro perform), but sometimes hard to prove.  It may be that as a matter of the family law in your state, the agreement must be notarized or witnessed.  Otherwise, it is up to the intent of the parties.  Your family law lawyer should help you on this.  If you don't have a lawyer helping you, I assume the amount involved with the contract doesn't really justify that expense. 

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Most people and business enter into contracts on almost a daily basis. Simply put, a contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties. One party makes an offer to do something in exchange for "consideration," or payment, and the other party accepts that offer. Contacts can be verbal, in writing or even implied. Some contracts--such as signed credit card receipts--are very simple. Others--such as those used to buy or sell real estate--are far more complicated. If you are entering into a complex transaction, it pays to hire a contract law attorney as early as possible in the process. Your lawyer can help negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement, then draft the contract or review the contract that has been presented to you. Law firms with experience in contract law can also defend you if you or your company has been accused of breaching a contract, or if you need assistance enforcing a existing contract.
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