Dating legal documents
Typically contracts will be made in writing, on the basis that this provides a written record of the terms of the contract agreed between the parties.
An oral contract can leave substantial room for debate as to its terms.
Sometimes you will want the effective date to be different from the date of signing, either earlier (i.e., backdating) or later (i.e., predating).
Either is acceptable, provided that both you and the other party intended it.
In those cases, the courts may look at surrounding circumstances to determine approximately when the contract went into effect.
In addition to dated documents, courts may also look at the behavior of the parties, finding the contract to be effective when the parties proceeded as though they were under the terms of the contract.
If it is a non-disclosure agreement, specifically state that all information disclosed Roger Glovsky is a business lawyer who believes legal documents should be accessible, affordable and comprehensible.
As author of Contracts Guru.com, Roger coaches business owners how to draft and negotiate their own contracts through workshops, teleseminars and online programs.
What “backdating” is about is signing an agreement today with the intent that it be effective as of a prior date.
You meet with your designer and toss around some ideas. There are several versions, lots of back and forth conversation.
You get really excited about how great your website is going to look. Somewhere along the way, you realize there is no contract. One week turns into two weeks, two weeks into a month or two months.
You remember that your lawyer once told you that without a contract you do not legally own your website. Finally you prepare the contract and your designer agrees to sign it. Should it be dated when the contract is signed or back when you first started working together? The reason contract dates are important is because that is when your legal rights begin.
For example, if the contract is dated today, who owns that portion of the website code that was developed prior to signing the agreement? So, you paid the designer in full but you don’t own the website?
For example, if you decide to loan money to a friend, you may draw up the contract after you’ve already made the loan, in which case you’ll want to backdate the contract, making it so that the interest started accruing the day you loaned the money.