When you and another person enter a contract, both parties must abide by the outlined information. If the other party, which would be considered your partner, does not follow through as indicated, he or she has officially breached the contract. Unfortunately, this is something that happens quite often. Instead of doing nothing, remember that your contract is enforceable.
As an example, if you were hired to install a privacy fence for $3,000, excluding materials, and the contract states you will receive 50 percent upfront and 50 percent upon completion, the other party is required to follow through. If your work is done to the homeowner’s satisfaction but no final payment is received or you receive only a partial final payment on the due date, your partner breached the contract.
Depending on the amount of money involved and the type of breach, you may be able to recoup lost finances in small claims court. However, if the dollar amount exceeds the court’s maximum, your best course of action is to hire a reputable attorney. This is also the best option in more challenging breached contract cases. In some cases, going after monies due can cost you more time and money than justified. Of course, for a significant loss, you want to hire a qualified attorney.
- Material Breach – In this type of breach, your partner failed to perform his or her duties as set forth in the contract. Although this is the most serious of all breaches, due to failure on your partner’s end, you will likely recover some or all of your financial loss. To be successful, your attorney will prove that you completed your end of the bargain while your partner failed to perform.
- Fundamental Breach – In most cases, this type of contract breach is handled in a court higher than small claims. This violation allows you to stop the performance of the contract and sue for damages. A prime example involves signing a lease on an apartment only to discover on move-in day that another family is already living there.
- Anticipatory Breach – You can claim that the contract was breached when it becomes clear that your partner has no intention of following through on his or her responsibilities within the specified timeline. For instance, if something was to be completed no later than Aug. 10 but work had not even begun on Aug. 9, there is no way that the contract can be fulfilled.
- Minor Breach – This is when only a portion of the contract is breached. While the majority of the work was completed, the required changes, modifications, or adjustments were not done. Therefore, you cannot sue for performance, but you might be able to sue for monetary damages or perhaps force your partner to make all necessary corrections.
For all contract breaches, your case needs to be credible. Your attorney must see the signed contract and establish the date when it was executed, the date when the breach occurred, the amount of money that you lost, and that your partner was responsible.