I am a contracted software developer in the United States.
My contract will expire in about 5 months. Are they able to renew it without my consent?
I ask this because I am not familiar with the contracting process.
Does the contract have a clause which says anything about automatic contract renewal? When it doesn't, the contract is over when it is expired and you both need to explicitly agree to a new contract.
Now what if the contract ends, you both act as if it hadn't (you keep working, they keep paying) and then get into a dispute after a while? I (as a legal layman) could imagine that a court of law might rule that you both implicitly agreed to a contract extension through your behavior. But that depends on a lot of factors (ask a lawyer for details).
Working with no contract is an ugly situation for everyone involved, so you should better sort out your working arrangement before the contract ends.
I've been a contractor in the software field off and on for about 15 years. Typically when my contract is coming to the end date (usually about a month before that), I will get a call from the agency I'm working through with one of 3 different possibilities:
I've had all three calls at different places.
This may not apply if you are working independently as a 1099 employee (in the US) and not through an agency.