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Understanding contract breaches

Floridians that enter into business contracts understandably want to know that their agreements offer some protections. The point of a contract is commonly to solidify an agreement between parties. Both parties generally have some responsibility to the other as laid out in the contract terms. When one party violates or fails to fulfill a term in a contract, a breach of contract is said to have occurred.

The Florida Bar indicates that when a breach of contract takes place, the breached party has the ability to pursue enforcement or compensation. Such action must be initiated within the legally designated timeframe. This timeframe can vary from contract to contract.

According to the National Paralegal College, there are two types of contract breaches. The least severe form of breach is referred to as a partial breach or a minor breach. The more severe form of breach is referred to as a material breach. In both cases, the innocent party has the right to seek compensation from the party that broke the contract. In a material breach only, the innocent party may be freed from fulfilling their responsibilities per the contract.

A variety of criteria are used to determine whether a breach is deemed minor or material. These include how much of the original obligations have already been fulfilled by the breaching party and the likelihood that the breaching party will fulfill any remaining obligations. The benefit received to date by the innocent party and the impact on the breaching party of any contract termination factor into this decision. Whether or not the breach was intentional or the result of an error is also considered.

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