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How to evaluate whether a breach of contract has occurred

Contract disputes most often arise when a party claims that another has failed to uphold the promises they originally agreed to when the document was signed. Any inaction that can be seen as not being aligned with what one would reasonably expect in a given industry may be deemed to be a breach. Many breaches of contract arise out of either an individual, their services or a product not living up to its implied or expressed warranty.

In assessing whether a breach of contract actually occurred, a judge will first attempt to ascertain whether or not a contract indeed existed in the first place. If it did, he or she will then try to make sense of what the individual parties' responsibilities were under it. The judge will also question the two parties to find out whether any modification was made to the original agreement.

The judge will then question the parties as to when they allege the breach occurred. He or she will then work with the parties to understand how critical the breach was to the overall terms of the contract.

The judge will also attempt to understand whether or not the party that is believed to have breached the contract has a legal defense for having done so. The party most affected by the breach will then be asked to state the damages he or she believes he or she suffered as a result of the breach.

There are two types of breaches: material and minor ones. In deciding what penalties should be assessed to the party that is believed to have gone against the contract, a judge will seek to better understand which type of breach is thought to have occurred. As for a material breach, it involves a party receiving a product or service that was remarkably different from what was promised in the contract.

In contrast, a minor breach involves the contracted party failing to follow through with some aspect of the contract. In this case, the end client still ultimately receives the product or service originally promised.

If you suspect that the terms that you originally agreed to have not been adequately upheld, then you may wish to have a Melbourne, Florida, contract litigation attorney review your case.

Source: The University of New Mexico Judicial Education Center, "Breach of contract," accessed June 21, 2017

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