Small business used to run on handshakes and informal relationships between parties that knew each other and what to expect going into any deal. Those days are long gone, and virtually every type of business transaction falls under the area of contract law. A contract simply refers to an agreement between two parties and can result in anything from hiring an employee to buying a shipment of goods from a vendor. Contrary to what many people think, a contract does not have to be written in order to be legally binding – contracts can be oral or written, and they govern all facets of the business world.
When one (or sometimes both) of the parties to a contract fails to abide by its terms, the offending party has breached the contract. Breach of contract can be mutual, but more often than not it leads to disputes between businesses.
Some types of contracts that are commonly breached include:
- employment agreements
- noncompete agreements and restrictive covenants
- negotiable promissory notes
- service contracts
- product contracts
- commercial and residential lease agreements
- residential real estate contracts
- commercial real estate contracts
- real estate purchase and sales agreements
- construction contracts
Each of these different types of contracts has its own special set of thorny legal issues. No two breach of contract claims are identical, and sorting through the complicated factual circumstances requires a Monmouth County business attorney with a thorough understanding of both the law and the business needs of the client.
Dealing with a contract breach can be a difficult issue. Sometimes the breach occurs on a brand new contract between two parties, while other times involve two longstanding business associates who might wish to keep working together despite the current problems. While in a perfect world, each contract would explicitly outline the penalties for breach, not every agreement is so well drafted, and the realities of everyday business can create situations that do not fit in to neat categories. When the two parties cannot settle the business dispute on their own terms, the law can provide the injured party with various types of relief, including money damages. This threat can provide serious leverage for an experienced negotiator and can give a mechanism for repairing the harm from the breach. Whether the dispute can be settled in mediation or looming litigation is inevitable, you have to make sure that your legal strategy is custom-tailored to your business’ needs. If you are in a breach of contract situation, contact a Monmouth County business lawyer today.