Potential Challenges to Contracts
Under ideal circumstances, contracts are made with a full understanding of the circumstances and each party’s responsibilities and rights. Yet this is not always the case. There may be issues surrounding the creation of a contract that lead to part or all of it not being fulfilled in the future. Additionally, problems that arise after the formation of the contract can lead to disputes. If you are a business person, you should be aware of how you or other parties can potentially challenge contracts.
Potential Challenges to Contracts
There are numerous ways you or other parties to a contract could potentially challenge their obligations under the contract. Whether or not one of these arguments is available to you or your business associates depends on the circumstances of the dispute.
- A Breach of Contract: A breach of contract dispute arises when it appears one party has not fulfilled one or more of its duties prescribed by the contract. If you believe a breach of contract has occurred, you may be interested in pushing for the fulfillment of that party’s obligations, particularly if you have already completed your end of the bargain. For instance, if you have already provided a service and have not been paid in full, you may go to court seeking a judgment for the money you are owed with interest. Or, you may be interested in being free of the contract yourself.
- A Void Contract: If a court finds a contract is void, it means the agreement was never valid. A contract is void if it involved an illegal activity, was entered into by an incompetent person, required an impossible obligation, was against public policy, or constrained certain individual rights, like who a party can marry. If the other party of the contract is attempting to enforce a contract that involves one of these factors, you can argue that the contract is void and unenforceable.
- A Voidable Contract: A voidable contract is one that was originally valid but can be voided in the future. Voidable contracts include those entered into by minors, those created through force, duress, or fraud, those entered into while someone was incapacitated, including due to mental illness, alcohol, or drugs, and those that involve a mutual mistake by the parties. If another party is trying to force you to perform under a contract that is voidable, you may be able to use one of those factors as a defense and seek to have the contracted voided.
Is All or Part of the Contract Unenforceable?
Another issue you must review when it comes to challenges to a contract is whether all or only a part of a contract is unenforceable. In certain circumstances, an entire contract may be void or voidable. When a court determines a contract was always invalid or is voidable, then the party who has been injured can seek damages. However, in other circumstances, only a portion of the contract may be deemed unenforceable and the parties may have to move forward with the rest of the agreement. This is known as severability. If a contract has a severability clause, then even if one part of the contract is invalid or voidable, the rest still applies.
Contact Our Florida Contract Lawyers for Help
If a person or business you are working with is challenging a contract or refusing to meet out its obligations or you believe you should not have to perform under an agreement, contact us at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. as soon as possible. You may be able to settle a contract dispute through straightforward conversations with the other party or more formal mediation. However, you may also need to fight for your rights in court. Call 561-571-8970 to learn more.