The following definitions are from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Memorandum of Understanding
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a legal document describing a bilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action, rather than a legal commitment. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen’s agreement, but generally lacks the bind power of a contract.
Memorandum of Agreement
A memorandum of agreement (MOA) or cooperative agreement is a document written between parties to cooperatively work together on an agreed upon project or meet an agreed upon objective. The purpose of an MOA is to have a written understanding of the agreement between parties. The MOA can also be a legal document that is binding and hold the parties responsible to their commitment or just a partnership agreement.
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But as a more accurate view , MOU is the first step of mutual understanding between two parties and will include general points , while MOA will be generated when two parties review more details and are serious to start any action along with their agreement.
As noted on www.JVWisdom.com, an MOU can also be used as a Joint Venture Agreement or Partnership Agreement. If you what to use an MOU for business (as a Joint Venture Agreement or Partnership Agreement), then you simply adjust the main headings you use to cover the details of the partnership and fill in the conditions in a conscise bullet form. That site covers excellently the aspects you probably want to cover using an MOU in that way.
Now, while each of these documents outline a deal, project or partnership and establishes and agreement between people, none of them are strictly legally binding. They are more used for clarification and as a commitment based in honor, like a gentleman's handshake. However, of these documents the MOA is the most binding simply because it contains the word "agreement", since a contract is an agreement, an MOA signifies a more significant commitment than an MOU.
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