Contingency Contracts: Everything You Need to Know
Contingency contracts target undesirable behaviors and conditions while helping a person achieve better outcomes. 3 min read
Contingency contracts are primarily designed to enhance desirable behaviors. Such a contract can be between the following parties:
- Therapist and Client
- Parent and Child
- Teacher and Student
Contingency contracts target undesirable behaviors and conditions while helping a person achieve better outcomes. For instance, a parent can enter a contingency contract with a child that does not finish his or her homework on time. The child can agree to finish his or her homework before supper. If the child finishes the homework, he or she can watch an hour of TV. However, if the child fails to complete the homework before dinner, he or she must use TV time to finish all assignments.
In essence, contingency contracts are used to manage risk and achieve a desired result. Negotiators may attempt to overcome differences of opinion regarding certain events through various persuasion strategies. The addition of penalties or incentives based on future performances will protect all parties from potential risk.
Parties that disagree during negotiations should be ready to put their beliefs to the test through bets. Contingency contracts also work best in the following areas:
- Professional Sports
- Construction Projects
- Real Estate
With that, negotiators in other areas could benefit most by adding penalties or incentives instead of using persuasion techniques that could yield lower odds of success.
A contingency contract between teacher and student is meant to achieve certain academic goals that out of a student. In addition, the contract rewards and reinforces a positive work ethic based on desired performances.
- Note: A contingency contract should have a sole purpose outlined in the contract.
Provisions should not include anything that places a student in physical danger or forces the student to harm his or herself in any way. When it comes to the definition of a contract goal, you must assess a student’s current performance level. If a teacher wants a student to practice raising his or her hand instead of speaking abruptly, establish the degree of behavior before coming up with a sound contract.
Another scenario is if a teacher wants a student to complete more math assignments. First, the teacher must assess a student’s current performance. You can craft a certain goal if a student only completes 60 percent of all math assignments.
Teachers should observe current behaviors for a period of one week. After, you should come up with a goal and transform it into a plan of action. The student is then aware of the terms of the contract, and the student can negotiate accordingly. Once both parties agree to terms, all information should be outlined in the contract in objective and clear language.
One objective may include the student raising his or her hand and waiting to be called upon at least five times per hour. This would be a solid plan if the student raises a hand and interrupts five times.
When it comes to students, determining the right conditions for the contract include:
Such parameters detail a desired performance level based on current circumstances. In addition, the contract should reward or incentivize a student if he or she lives up to her end of the agreement. Rewards should appeal to the student’s interests, but within reason. Solid reward ideas include:
- Small Toys
- Homework Passes
- Free Time
All rewards and incentives should be awarded immediately upon honoring the contract terms. Further, you should include dates in which the student completes assignments or honors the agreement, and you should evaluate his or her performance on a weekly basis to determine a student’s progress. If you see no progress after a couple weeks, you should reevaluate the terms of the contract and enter into another phase of negotiation. The current terms could be too hard for a student to achieve. Always include a completion date for the student to reach the primary goal.
Signing the Contract
Ensure that the contract is written in terms that the student can understand. Use words such as rewards instead of reinforcement so the student can relate to the terms. When you present the terms, the student and teacher should sign the document. Further, it may be prudent to have a third party in the form of a friend or adult as a witness to the contract signing.
To learn more about contingency contracts, post your legal need to our UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel’s lawyers will help you draft contingency contracts of any kind, so you can achieve a desired result from another party. Further, our lawyers will guide you how to draft a contingency contract legally while ensuring that all parties are comfortable with the contract terms.