Understanding a Contract Dispute

A contract is the bedrock of any business arrangement, but even the best-laid plans can go awry. Whether the result of one party’s behavior or unforeseen circumstances, a contract dispute can throw a roadblock in your business activity, or give you a major headache. It’s best to resolve a contract dispute as soon as you can. Sometimes, the nature of the agreement isn’t fully understood by all parties, which leads to confusion and mishap in its execution.

What is a contract dispute?

First, let’s briefly define a contract. A contract is a legally-enforceable agreement between two or more parties, which obligates the parties to behave in a prescribed manner toward one another. A contract does not always need to be written – contrary to what some believe, an oral contract also holds weight in the eyes of the law. So long as an offer is made by one party, accepted by another, and there is sufficient ‘consideration’ – a promised exchange of values, such as money in return for services – then the agreement may be a legally-binding contract.

In the event there is a violation of the terms of the agreement, a contract dispute would arise. Contract disputes may occur due to confusion over vague phrasing or simply by accident. Common forms of contract disputes occur in areas such as:

Employment agreements
Non-compete agreements
Landlord tenant agreements
Building contracts
Lease agreements
Business-to-business contracts, and more

If you and another party are in a contract dispute, and cannot mutually resolve it, there are legal options at your disposal.

How do I resolve a contract dispute?

Depending on the nature of the agreement, and your relationship to the other party, you may want to first try simple negotiation to resolve the contract dispute. If the parties still remain at an impasse, legal mediation could help bring the parties to a compromise while preserving the business relationship.

However, in certain circumstances, if one party has failed to perform under the terms of the agreement, the other party could accuse them of breaching the contract. If civil litigation is pursued, the terms of the contract could be enforced by law, and compensation paid by the offending party. This would resolve the contract dispute with finality (and also likely terminate the business relationship). To determine whether a party has breached the contract, you would need to consider a few key criteria.

A formal contract (oral or written) existed.
You fulfilled your contractual obligations, and the other party did not.
The contract breach caused you material loss.

If these conditions have been met, and the offending party in your contract dispute remains recalcitrant, civil litigation may be your best option for resolution. At this point, your next step would be to find a smart, capable lawyer. A contract is governed by the laws of the state in which it was agreed upon. If your contract was made in New Jersey, we strongly advise you contact attorney David P. Schroth. He is located just outside Trenton, and has over twenty years of experience in multiple fields, including contract dispute resolution. You can reach his office at 609-882-0041. Begin the process today to end the dispute on your terms.

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