A contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties. It often includes the rights and duties of each party involved. You may sign a contract when you get a new job, sign a lease, or hire a contractor.In a perfect world, everyone would keep their word, abide by their agreements, and fully deliver on their promises, but that expectation often leads to disappointment. Even if you fully trust a company or a person, you should always put mutual promises in writing to cover both of you in the event of a dispute. When a contract is breached, you may have to go to court to resolve the issue.
The experienced lawyers at Scottsdale Family Law are ready to take on your contract disputes. Our team can also help you draft, review, interpret, or negotiate contracts. Just give us a call at 602-279-1900 to set up an appointment with our contract law experts.
Regardless of the prevalence of contracts, few people put any real thought into what they contain. The standard practice for most people is to sign them and move on. Contracts can vary widely, but each one must have these three essential elements:
The offer is a statement specifying what each party is offering to do (or not do, in some cases). For example, let’s say one of the parties manufactures hot chocolate mix. In the contract, the first party promises to deliver 1,000 boxes of hot chocolate to a grocery store by the end of September, just before cold weather moves in.
In exchange for the hot chocolate, the grocery store agrees to pay $2,000. In this case, the first party is offering 1000 boxes of hot chocolate while the second party is offering a payment of $2,000.
Acceptance simply means that the two parties agree to the terms of the contract. In order for the contract to be valid, each party must indicate they’re satisfied with the conditions.
The legal term “consideration” refers to the designated benefit that each party will receive as a result of the contract. This refers to the money, items, or services that are exchanged between the two contracting parties.
In the example provided above, the first party receives $2,000 “consideration” to the hot chocolate manufacturer, while the grocery store receives “consideration” of 1,000 boxes of hot chocolate.
Breach of contract occurs when one of the parties fails to meet the terms of the agreement. There are three different ways a breach of contract can occur:
A material breach occurs when one of the parties fails to provide the expected consideration, resulting in damages to the other party.
For example, if the grocery store paid the hot chocolate manufacturer $2,000 but they didn’t receive any of the promised product, the manufacturer has committed a material breach of contract.
An incidental breach of contract typically refers to a minor infraction that doesn’t cause significant damage but violates the terms of the contract nonetheless. This happens when both parties fulfill the major parts of their agreement, but one of the parties fails to fully comply.
For example, if the hot chocolate manufacturer doesn’t ship their product until a week later than promised, they have committed an incidental breach of contract. They didn’t provide what was promised within the time allotted, but the failure didn’t cause the grocery store to incur any significant losses.
An anticipatory breach of contract occurs when one of the parties alerts the other that the breaching party will not meet the terms of their agreement.
In our hot chocolate example, if the manufacturer is aware of an issue in the supply chain which results in an increase in the cost of the packaging for the hot chocolate, and therefore would take a loss at $2,000 and tries to cancel, the grocery store could take them to court because they have reason to believe the manufacturer will not send the hot chocolate within the time frame promised.
Whether it’s drawing up a binding contract or reviewing one for you, it never hurts to have an experienced Scottsdale contract lawyer take a look. Contact us today to make sure the contract you sign is in your best interests. Contact us today or call us at 602-279-1900 to schedule an appointment.