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  #1  
Old 01-14-2012, 03:22 PM
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Question Is Your Contract Really Legally Binding??

I'm looking over my policies and contract (much of which I have patched together after reading so many others) and I honestly am not sure just how legally binding it really is!

It SOUNDS great and all, but...

Has anyone had a lawyer look yours over? I'm considering it just to be sure.
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Mary Poppins View Post
I'm looking over my policies and contract (much of which I have patched together after reading so many others) and I honestly am not sure just how legally binding it really is!

It SOUNDS great and all, but...

Has anyone had a lawyer look yours over? I'm considering it just to be sure.
Here is a very general primer on contracts: http://contracts.lawyers.com/contrac...cs.html?page=1

It certainly could never hurt to have an attorney look your contract over, if you have any doubts.

I've never had to try to enforce my contract in court, but I believe it meets the requirements to be enforceable in my state.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:10 PM
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I had an attorney go over mine.

In several places in my contract I mention that this is a legally binding contract.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Meeko60 View Post
I had an attorney go over mine.
I'm thinking it's a good idea to do this. I'd hate to try to have mine stand up in court and a lawyer finds all sorts of loop holes (which they are trained to do).

My dd wants to be a lawyer. I wish she'd hurry that career thing up!
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:44 AM
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Tom Copeland has some excellent insight about contracts and policies

http://www.tomcopelandblog.com/contracts-policies/
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:01 AM
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Tom Copeland has some excellent insight about contracts and policies

http://www.tomcopelandblog.com/contracts-policies/
Thanks! He sure has some great tips.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:28 PM
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any contract that is signed is legally binding. Just like buying something off of craigslist, if you have it signed its legal. I watch alot of court shows too, so if its signed well then...
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:41 PM
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I have gone to court multiple times and the judge said that my contract was the best one she ever saw. Her mother was a daycare provider. As long as it is signed by both parties I believe it is legally binding.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:40 AM
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I have gone to court multiple times and the judge said that my contract was the best one she ever saw. Her mother was a daycare provider. As long as it is signed by both parties I believe it is legally binding.
thats what I think too.
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:48 AM
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I have heard and seen it go both ways. A majority of time, the contracts are legally binding and are held up in a court but I have also seen providers who haven't gotten everything to go their way. For example, one provider had a client who owed her $150.00 and had a late fee of $10 per day. The provider charged this parent the late fee until the court date and the judge did not allow the entire amount to be awarded to the provider because in her words "the late fee far outweighed the original balance owed."

I have also seen providers win in court against families on subsidy and the judge either ruled in the parents favor (because they were low income and had no means of paying off the balance) or ruled in the provider's favor but the provider never saw a dime because the judgement placed against the parent on subsidy could never be collected due to the parent again being low income.

I think that in most cases, contracts are legally binding but I have seen some odd circumstances that the parent won.

One of my friends who is a provider lost in court against a parent because the parent could proove that the provider allowed her to be late before with payment and just because the provider decided to start enforcing the contract after the fact, she herself voided it by allowing her (the parent) an exception to the rule. Which is another good reason to NEVER waiver from your policies or rules.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post

One of my friends who is a provider lost in court against a parent because the parent could proove that the provider allowed her to be late before with payment and just because the provider decided to start enforcing the contract after the fact, she herself voided it by allowing her (the parent) an exception to the rule. Which is another good reason to NEVER waiver from your policies or rules.
Great point!!

When I started I didn't want to seem "inflexible" and I wanted to be nice because I thought if they didn't perceive me as nice then they wouldn't leave their children with me. I've quickly learned that if I continue this pattern I will be completely steamrolled by some of these parents.

So I'm strengthening my contract AND my backbone.
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2012, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I have heard and seen it go both ways. A majority of time, the contracts are legally binding and are held up in a court but I have also seen providers who haven't gotten everything to go their way. For example, one provider had a client who owed her $150.00 and had a late fee of $10 per day. The provider charged this parent the late fee until the court date and the judge did not allow the entire amount to be awarded to the provider because in her words "the late fee far outweighed the original balance owed."

I have also seen providers win in court against families on subsidy and the judge either ruled in the parents favor (because they were low income and had no means of paying off the balance) or ruled in the provider's favor but the provider never saw a dime because the judgement placed against the parent on subsidy could never be collected due to the parent again being low income.

I think that in most cases, contracts are legally binding but I have seen some odd circumstances that the parent won.

One of my friends who is a provider lost in court against a parent because the parent could proove that the provider allowed her to be late before with payment and just because the provider decided to start enforcing the contract after the fact, she herself voided it by allowing her (the parent) an exception to the rule. Which is another good reason to NEVER waiver from your policies or rules.
I think tis can be true for any contract, even one read over by a lawyer. Judges can "bend the rules" so to speak which is why they're judges. If they see a statement in a contract that they deem to be unfair it's really up to them. A lot can depend on the judge.
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I have heard and seen it go both ways. A majority of time, the contracts are legally binding and are held up in a court but I have also seen providers who haven't gotten everything to go their way. For example, one provider had a client who owed her $150.00 and had a late fee of $10 per day. The provider charged this parent the late fee until the court date and the judge did not allow the entire amount to be awarded to the provider because in her words "the late fee far outweighed the original balance owed."

I have also seen providers win in court against families on subsidy and the judge either ruled in the parents favor (because they were low income and had no means of paying off the balance) or ruled in the provider's favor but the provider never saw a dime because the judgement placed against the parent on subsidy could never be collected due to the parent again being low income.

I think that in most cases, contracts are legally binding but I have seen some odd circumstances that the parent won.

One of my friends who is a provider lost in court against a parent because the parent could proove that the provider allowed her to be late before with payment and just because the provider decided to start enforcing the contract after the fact, she herself voided it by allowing her (the parent) an exception to the rule. Which is another good reason to NEVER waiver from your policies or rules.
I do have in my policy, that should I decide to waive/forgive a DC policy for any certain reason, that it does not void or cancel out the contract between both parties.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:01 PM
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I'm stealing it for mine.
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2012, 07:13 PM
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I do have in my policy, that should I decide to waive/forgive a DC policy for any certain reason, that it does not void or cancel out the contract between both parties.
Daycare, this is brilliant. It is going in my policy NOW. Thank you.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:16 PM
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I do have in my policy, that should I decide to waive/forgive a DC policy for any certain reason, that it does not void or cancel out the contract between both parties.
Great idea!
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:01 AM
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I do have in my policy, that should I decide to waive/forgive a DC policy for any certain reason, that it does not void or cancel out the contract between both parties.
Great idea! But I asked my one neighbors (he is a district court judge) about this whole topic and he said, just because you put into writing that you can change the contract doean't mean you can.

If you have a clause that basically says "I can change things and not follow rules, but you can't" that is not fair to the person signing it. He said the point of a contract is for BOTH parties to know what is and isn't allowable and when only one party has the authority to change things at will, then it essentially voids the contract since the other party had no idea you were going to change something.

He said you are better off saying something specific such as "The provider reserves the right to waive up to 3 late fees during the year at her discretion." Or "The provider reserves the right to allow up to three early or late drop offs every six months".

The signing party HAS to be aware of what rule(s) you reserve the right to change. A contract isn't a contract if ONLY one side has to follow the rules.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:55 AM
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I think it can be on both sides on whether a contract can be broken. Both parties need to have clear evidence of what is being broken. If your contract states it is legal binding then your stating it is. List your contract clear and persist and fair. Have a attorney go over it and approve it as well. Just bc we have a legal binding contract doesn't mean that we can always win in court. We need to be able to uphold to our own rules so if we brake them and the other party can prove that then we're out and could be paying their fees.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
He said you are better off saying something specific such as "The provider reserves the right to waive up to 3 late fees during the year at her discretion." Or "The provider reserves the right to allow up to three early or late drop offs every six months".

The signing party HAS to be aware of what rule(s) you reserve the right to change. A contract isn't a contract if ONLY one side has to follow the rules.
Thanks Blackcat! This wording is great and exactly what I was looking to add to my contract.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:52 PM
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I have in my contract this:

Modifications to the rules and regulations may be made throughout the course of enrollment. Any addition or deletion of policies does not void the contractual obligations already set forth.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:02 PM
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I have in my contract this:

Modifications to the rules and regulations may be made throughout the course of enrollment. Any addition or deletion of policies does not void the contractual obligations already set forth.

So do you have them sign a new contract if and when you make changes to policies? Or do you make them aware of the changes and their original contract holds them to the new changes or do you just hold them to the original policy they agreed to at signing?
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mary Poppins View Post
So do you have them sign a new contract if and when you make changes to policies? Or do you make them aware of the changes and their original contract holds them to the new changes or do you just hold them to the original policy they agreed to at signing?
I added a rule to my illness policy about a year ago. I notified parents via email, typed it out on paper and had them initial and date the modification. I then stapled it to the original contract they signed.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:54 PM
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any contract that is signed is legally binding. Just like buying something off of craigslist, if you have it signed its legal. I watch alot of court shows too, so if its signed well then...

This is not entirely true...and a perfect example of why you should consult with an attorney..not an armchair lawyer...and just because you saw it on Judge Judy doesn't make it hard and fast, or even true in your state.

Most contracts are legally binding, but there are several exceptions. talk to a lawyer.
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