Any lawyer in Los Angeles will tell you it is very important to get an agreement down in writing. It is not that you do not have options if you do not have your agreement formalized, but everything is much easier and more clear if you do take that last step and get a contract in writing.
Even so, not everyone gets contracts down on paper. Apparently, singer Shakira did not, and now it looks like she has a legal dispute on her hands that might be easier to resolve if she had.
The "Hips Don't Lie" singer was recently sued by her former manager, who was also her boyfriend. The former manager alleges that he took over managing Shakira's career in 2004, moving her from a singer who was known only in Spanish-speaking countries to a global sensation with big endorsement deals, popular albums and a $300 million tour deal with concert promoter Live Nation.
The former manager claims that Shakira asked him to manage her, but then fired him in 2011 "as if he were a mere employe," about a year after they ended their romantic relationship.
The former manager has claimed that he is owed at least $100 million because his agreement with Shakira held that he was to share in the revenue generated by her success.
However, the former manager acknowledges that the agreement was only oral and was never committed to writing.
Shakira's legal team has not responded specifically to this lawsuit, but she has sued the former manager in a separate case, alleging that he used her business funds for personal expenses and awarded himself an unauthorized bonus.
Like we said, not getting a contract in writing does not leave you without options, but it does often make things harder.
Source: BBC News, "Shakira sued for $100m by former boyfriend," Dec. 2, 2012