The basic elements of an Oklahoma contract

 A contract is an agreement to do or to not do a certain thing

The Oklahoma contract is a fundamental piece of our lives and our legal system.  People make contracts with other people or businesses routinely and regularly, often without even thinking about it (e.g., hiring someone to mow your lawn; engaging a CPA to do your taxes, sending clothes to the dry cleaners, and many many more).

Since the contract plays such an important role in our lives, it seems wise to know the basics of a contract.  Below are the basic and essential elements of an Oklahoma contract:

(1) Parties capable of contracting.

Everyone 18 or older is generally capable of making a contract in Oklahoma with exceptions for people of “unsound mind”, some people in prison depending on the type of contract.  Unless you believe that a person lacks mental capacity you can assume the person is capable of entering into a contract.

(2) The parties consent to the contract

The parties to a contract must be entering into the contract freely, mutually and they must communicate this free consent to the other party.  Many times consent to the contract is implied by when there is an offer to make a contract and an acceptance of such offer to contract.  Consent to enter into a contract may be questioned if the person giving the consent was under duress, menace and/or a victim of fraud.

(3) A lawful object

According to Oklahoma law “The object of a contract is the thing which it is agreed, on the part of the party receiving the consideration, to do or not to do.”  This one plays out kind of like you might expect: contracting to purchase illegal drugs would not be a lawful object of a contract while contracting to purchase widgets would be a lawful object

(4) Sufficient cause or consideration

Consideration is any benefit one party to a contract either gives or promises to give to the other party to a contract.  A simple example would be a contract to construct a new home – the homeowner is agreeing to pay a sum of money and the home builder is agreeing to build a home.  The consideration is money flowing to the builder and a new home being provided by the builder to the homeowner.


Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."