If a contract already exists and both parties wish to modify some element(s) therein (addition or deletion of a clause, correction, etc.), an amendment document is used. This type of document is the faster, easier alternative to rewriting the entire contract when only minor changes are needed. If a contract is modified before it is signed, such changes do not fall under the heading of amendments.
A contract amendment should be as specific and concise as possible. Generally, amendments can be constructed in three different styles:
- Redlines/Strikethroughs: Under this method, additions and deletions to the contract are shown as deleted or crossed-out text.
- Clause is replaced: The amending parties simply state that an entire clause has been replaced, and provide the new clause.
- Describing the amendment: The changes are described rather than noted explicitly. This method is faster but requires all parties to check against the existing contract to ensure accuracy.
Note: There may be times when one or more parties want to deviate from an agreement, but don’t wish to modify it. These deviations, in which a party waives a provision or permits something that is otherwise prohibited by the contract, are defined as “waivers” or “consents.” Consents and waivers should be in writing as well.