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Contract Negotiations

4 Tips for Navigating Contract Negotiations

Contracts are an essential component to any successful business partnership. This document, when drafted correctly, will establish expectations and protect your company if the other individual or business does not deliver on what was promised. In order to ensure all parties are satisfied with the terms being agreed upon, contract negotiations will need to take place.

The best way to guarantee your interests are well-represented in these meetings is to enlist Miami contract attorney to negotiate on your behalf, such as those on our team. It is also helpful to go into negotiations with an understanding on how to navigate the meetings ahead. Here are three tips from our Miami contract lawyers for excelling during the negotiation phase.

1. Make a Priority List

Before beginning the negotiation process, it is important to first consider what is important to you. There will need to be compromise on both sides, so identify which areas you are willing to bend on, as well as which points must be met. An easy way to pinpoint these areas is to carefully review your business goals, noting which issues to be negotiated are most influential on whether you meet them.

2. Do Your Research

As with most things concerning business undertakings, research is the key to success. Before entering into negotiations, get familiar with the other party. Take time to review the company’s website, online reviews, and news coverage concerning its business practices. It is also advisable to get informed about industry standards concerning contracts, which can best be explained by a Miami contract attorney.

3. Try to Understand the Other Side

Taking time to understand the other party’s stance on the issues is an effective tactic for opening the lines of communication. Instead of simply arguing against his or her take on the issues, ask questions. Is there a reason why this issue is so important to the other party? How can you compromise? Posing such questions will not only help you reach a fair agreement, but will make the process go much smoother.

4. Avoid Getting Personal

Your personal feelings toward the other individual have no place at the negotiation table. Instead, focus solely on the facts. Approaching the situation as if you were an outsider looking in can be helpful, as it removes emotions from the equation.

If you are preparing to enter into contract negotiations, consulting with a Miami contract attorney is highly recommended. Our office offers free consultations where you can get answers to all of your most pressing questions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a member of our experienced team.

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florida lawsuit

How to Know If the Time Is Right to Sue

The decision to sue another individual or business is not one that should be rushed into. Prior to filing a civil lawsuit in Florida, there are several things one must take into consideration. A Miami civil attorney can help prospective filers determine if the time is right to sue, and if so, litigate on his or her behalf.

Failing to pose these five questions first could result in an unsuccessful lawsuit, ultimately costing the filer both time and money and leaving the issue unresolved.

1. Is there an alternative to suing?

In situations where there is an alternative to filing a lawsuit in civil court, exploring those options is almost always preferred. Before rushing to judgement, one should consider the other party’s side of the issue and whether or not compromise is possible. This process is known as negotiation, and results in each party having some but not all of his/her demands met. Another way to achieve compromise is through consulting a mediator, who will guide both parties through the negotiations. Arbitration may also serve as alternative, where a person fulfilling the role of a judge makes a final decision on the matter.

2. What is the desired outcome, and is it plausible?

It is important for filers to consider whether or not the other party will even be able to meet his or her demands. If the desired outcome is monetary, suing an individual who lacks any assets may be a lost cause.

3. Does the law allow for a suit on this issue?

If there is a statute of limitations that governs the matter, it is critical for the potential filer to ensure it hasn’t expired. It’s also to important to consider jurisdiction, as the lawsuit may need to be filed in a different state depending on the location of the other party.

4. Do you have the means to file a suit?

There are some circumstances where settling a dispute is more favorable than suing over the matter. In order to sue someone, an individual must pay upfront legal fees with no guarantee that the funds will be recovered. A reputable Miami civil attorney will be able to advise the prospective filer on whether or not recovery is likely, taking the filer’s finances into account.

5. Is it likely the suit will be successful?

By far the most important consideration one must make is whether or not the case is likely to be successful. If a business owner hopes to sue over a contract dispute but lacks a written contract, it may be hard to achieve a judgement in his or her favor. It’s also important that the prospective filer take evidence into consideration. If there is little proof of wrongdoing, a lawsuit might not be the best course of action.

If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit in Florida, a Miami civil attorney can help you determine if doing so is the right course of action. Give our office a call today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our experienced team.

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Florida is a Surrogacy-Friendly State

Florida is a Surrogacy-Friendly State

Surrogacy has become an increasingly popular option for those struggling to conceive or carry a child. Even though entering into a surrogacy agreement is illegal in some states, that is not the case in Florida. In fact, Florida surrogacy laws are some of the least restrictive in the country. Nonetheless, surrogacy law is complex and a qualified Miami surrogacy attorney can guide clients through the surrogacy process.

Two Legal Surrogacy Agreements

Under Florida surrogacy laws both forms of surrogacies are allowed, gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. Florida statute 742.15 governs Gestational Surrogacy Agreements, while statute 62.213 governs Pre-Planned Adoption Agreements, also called Traditional Surrogacy Agreements. Intended parents, legally referred to as the “commissioning couple,” can enter either of these agreements.

    • Gestational Surrogacy Agreement (GSA)

Pregnancy is created through in vitro fertilization, at least one of the intended parents must contribute genetic material, and the surrogate is prohibited from donating her own egg. Permitted combinations include:

    • egg and sperm from the intended parents
    • egg from intended mother and sperm from separate donor
    • sperm from intended father and egg from separate donor

To enter this type of agreement, the commissioning couple must establish the health risks, confirmed by a physician’s diagnosis, that prevent the intended mother from carrying the child herself.

    • Traditional Surrogacy Agreement (TSA)

Traditional surrogacy is significantly less popular than gestational due to legal issues. In this type of agreement, the surrogate can donate her own egg to create the pregnancy. The egg is fertilized with the intended father’s sperm, inside the surrogate’s uterus. Therefore, the child is biologically connected to the surrogate.

Parental Rights in Surrogacy Agreements

As dictated by Florida surrogacy laws, a written contract needs to be signed for either type of surrogacy agreement. An experienced Miami surrogacy attorney can help commissioning couples draft these contracts. However, the assignment of parental rights may depend on whether the surrogacy was gestational or traditional.

Gestational Surrogacy — The surrogate is not biologically connected to the child and therefore has no legal parental right to the child after giving birth. She relinquishes away any and all of her parental rights when signing the contract. The commissioning couple automatically has the parental and custodial rights of the child after the birth.

Traditional Surrogacy — Since the surrogate has a biological connection with the child, the assignment of parental and custody can become complicated. She may consent in the contract to give up her parental rights, but she has the right to rescind her consent and terminate the contract within 48 hours of the birth of the child. In which case, the legal counsel of a Miami surrogacy attorney becomes necessary for the commissioning couple.

The assistance of a seasoned Miami surrogacy attorney is beneficial for those who want to enter a surrogacy agreement, whether you are an intended parent or the surrogate. At Pimentel & Castillo, we are committed to make the process as smooth as possible for our every client. If legal drawbacks do occur, we are skilled at defending our client’s rights in court. Call us today for a free consultation.

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Governing and Jurisdiction Clauses in Contracts Q&A

Governing and Jurisdiction Clauses in Contracts Q&A

A contract represents a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. However, even when all the parties sign on the dotted line contract disputes may still come up. When a dispute occurs and both parties have chosen to resolve it through civil litigation important questions come up, particularly when the two parties operate in different states. Where will the case be heard? Who will interpret the contract’s terms and based on what set of laws?

To significantly reduce the possibility of a lengthy and expensive dispute, it is advisable to get ahead of the problem by answering these questions before contract disputes arise by enlisting the expertise of a Miami civil litigation lawyer during the drafting of any contract. They will be sure to include both a Governing Clause and Jurisdiction Clause.

What is a Governing Clause?

The first step in determining which laws will be applied toward the resolution of contract disputes is to include a governing clause (also called choice of law clause) within the contract. Laws, especially those governing business contracts, vary by state. So, there may be various legal interpretations of the same contract depending on which state laws are applied. By including a governing clause, both parties agree on which state’s laws will govern the contract and interpret its terms should a dispute arise. Governing clauses are especially important when the parties signing the contract, such as businesses, are operating in separate states.

What is a Jurisdiction Clause?

Once a governing clause is agreed on, it is now time for the parties to choose which court(s) will have the right to hear any resulting contract disputes. This agreed-upon condition must be explicitly stated in the form of a jurisdiction clause (also called forum selection clause). By including a jurisdiction clause, both parties establish and agree on which court(s) will hear and decide on any disputes that arise from the contract. The jurisdiction clause and governing clause do not necessarily have to match, a specified state court can be made to apply laws from another state. There are two types of jurisdiction clauses.

      • Exclusive Jurisdiction — Only the court(s) specified in the clause have the right to handle contract disputes. Parties must litigate their case in those specified courts.
      • Non-Exclusive Jurisdiction — Both the specified court(s) and other courts not explicitly stated in the clause can handle disputes. Parties can choose to file their lawsuit in these unspecified courts.

Governing and jurisdiction clauses must be written precisely to prevent any misunderstandings and disagreements over jurisdiction in the future. The right choice of state laws and forum can also benefit a party and help them avoid disadvantages such as costly out-of-state litigation or unfavorable state laws. Consult with an experienced Miami civil litigation lawyer to ensure both these clauses, as well as the contract itself, are properly drafted.

At Pimentel & Castillo, our Florida civil litigation attorneys are skilled at drafting contracts and representing our clients in contract disputes. Call and request a free consultation with our experienced Florida civil litigation attorneys today.

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A Guide to Winning a Contract Dispute

A Guide to Winning a Contract Dispute

For most business owners, a disagreement over the terms of a contract is likely to arise at some point. Without an effective strategy in place, such disputes can quickly prove costly. Therefore, understanding how to ensure the outcome is advantageous is absolutely essential.

Whether filing a suit over an unfulfilled partnership agreement, or battling one over employment contracts, here are some tips for coming out on top.

Preparation is Key

The best defense (or depending on the situation, offense) to a contract dispute actually lies in what the business owner does before the contract is even finalized. By making certain every contract one signs is clear in what is expected of each individual or company, a business owner guarantees any litigation later on is easily settled. The best way to avoid using language that may be open to interpretation is to enlist the services of a Miami contract attorney who will properly draft the terms of any agreement. Ideally, every question that could potentially arise should have an answer laid out in the contract itself.

Create a Paper Trail

Once the specifications of the agreement are laid out, it is of course important that both parties fulfill their obligations. Should the other party fail to do so, a business owner will improve his or her chances of winning a dispute with a paper trail demonstrating the unfulfilled obligation(s). Parties should always discuss amendments to an agreement or concerns with the other party’s performance via written communication, with any changes signed off on by both individuals.

Enlist a Qualified Attorney

In a perfect world, contract disputes would all be resolved before escalating to a formal civil suit. Of course, that is not the case; thus, recruiting an experienced Miami contract attorney to handle the dispute is critical to securing a favorable outcome. One’s lawyer can best advise him/her on how to proceed, and ensure all bases are covered to win in court.

If you are currently dealing with a dispute over a contract agreement, our team is here to guide you through it. Call us today to get started.

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Can I Be Sued for Old Debts?

Can I Be Sued for Old Debts?

The timeline in which a creditor can file suit over unpaid debts is not infinite. The statute of limitations outlines the period for which a debt is eligible to be filed suit for. The interval that must pass before an account is time-barred is ultimately dependent on the type of account and where it was opened.

Types of Debts

When lent by a creditor, unpaid funds will fall into one of two categories: open end or closed end. As a rule of thumb, accounts which can be utilized multiple times (such as a credit card) are considered open-end. If money is lent for a one-time purchase (mortgage on a home) for which the payments are fixed, the account falls into the closed-end category. However, not all loans are quite as clear cut. Sometimes, a loan will fall into a gray area. For instance, if a loan is disbursed in fixed amounts but on more than one occasion. A Miami civil trial attorney can help debtors and creditors alike in determining exactly what kind of debt they are dealing with.

After determining which category the debt falls under, the borrower will have to consider what kind of agreement was made for the repayment of the debt. This will factor into how long the creditor has to initiate legal actions in order to be repaid. The statute of limitations placed on different types of debts varies from state to state. Here is an overview of the time frame used by the state of Florida:

  • Closed-end with written contract: 5 years
  • Closed-end with oral contract: 4 years
  • Closed-end with promissory note: 5 years
  • Open-end: 4 years

The time limit starts on the day the agreement is made for closed-end accounts, and at the time first payment is due for open-end accounts. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind the fact that time is not kept when payments are voluntarily made or when the debtor is not in the state. Therefore, if a borrower defaults on his mortgage and moves to a different state, the statute of limitations does not apply. Also important to note, an oral agreement can restart the clock.

The complex nature of debt collection suits calls for a highly experienced Miami civil trial attorney. If you have questions about this area of law, please reach out to our team for a free consultation.