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What is a breach of contract?

What is a breach of contract? Imagine you create a contract with a friend to sell him a car. Each week until the vehicle is paid off, he'll give you twenty-five dollars for the cost of the car and another five dollars in interest. That means that at the end of each month, you should have received around 120 dollars, depending on the month.

Now, imagine that your friend suddenly decides to change the contract. Instead of paying you interest, you're only getting the twenty-five dollars. Now, you're not making any money for lending the money to your friend. That's a violation of your contract referred to as a "breach of contract."

In business, a breach of contract takes place when obligations aren't met by the people who entered into an agreement. When one party fails to fulfill his or her part of the deal, then it's known as a breach of contract. The breach can come in a number of forms. It doesn't have to be monetary. For instance, you may have a contract that a photographer will come to take photos at your wedding and that you'll pay on the day for 50 photos. When your photographer only produces 20 photos, that can be considered a breach of contract and you may be entitled to compensation if you take the photographer to court.

These are extremely simple examples designed to make a point: when a a party fails to honor its agreement with another party involving money, land, personal property, intellectual property, or services, that party has breached the contract. Sometimes those breaches are justified or explained by circumstances which can excuse the breach. There are many such possible defenses.

After a breach of contract occurs, you can take the dispute to court, arbitration or mediation. You can do this to enforce the contract to get what you asked for, or you may want to look into obtaining compensation for damages you've suffered.

Source: Findlaw, ""Breach of Contract" and Lawsuits," accessed Aug. 14, 2015

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