Modifying a Contract Before or After it is Signed

Modifying or Amending an Existing Contract

After a contract has been signed, you may want to modify, amend or change it. But not so fast. You can’t unilaterally change a signed agreement.


In New Jersey, modifications to a signed contract require the approval of all parties to the contract before they are legally effective.

What happens if you or the other party wants to modify or amend the existing contract? Can it be done? The answer is yes, it absolutely can.

First, make a list of changes, or modifications, that you’d like to see, then discuss them with the other parties to the contract. As a result of this negotiation, you may be able to change the contract to your liking with terms more favorable to you.

Don’t Be Shy About Asking to Modify a Proposed Contract Before Signing It

To be legally binding, all of the material terms of the contract must be agreed to by all parties. Before signing, you should carefully read it to be sure that you understand your obligations and the obligations of the other parties. If you don’t understand the contract, or you have questions about the meaning of the contract, have a qualified NJ contract attorney review the contract and explain it to you before you sign it!

If the draft contract doesn’t recite all of the terms that are important to you, then you need to talk to the other side and make sure they agree to what you want added or changed in the draft edition. Then to be on the safe side, add a written rider (commonly called an “addendum”) to the contract that addresses the changes. This rider should be signed by each party to the original contract, or the draft contract redone to include what all parties agree should be recited in detail.

There may be instances where all parties to a contract are unable to come to an agreement on changes. If that happens, you’ll have to live with the original agreement, walk away from the contract (if it hasn’t been signed) or calculate how much it will cost to break the contract and decide whether it’s worth the cost.

Questions for Your Attorney

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

If you don’t understand the language in a contract, need to better understand the obligations of a contract or need help negotiating a contract, consider contacting a New Jersey contract law attorney like Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. who may be able to assist you. He can be reached by calling toll-free (855) 376-5291 or by email at