A contract is an agreement between two existing parties. What makes it “binding” is the condition that the provisions of that contract can be enforced under the law. Every jurisdiction operates in compliance with the specific contract laws of their state. If a contract is valid according to the law, penalties can be enforced if one party or the other fails to live up to his part of the bargain according to the stipulations provided in the contract.
Once you sign a legally binding contract you are obliged to follow the conditions that are spelled out in the wording of the agreement. If you do not, you will be subject to a lawsuit for breach of contract and may have to pay damages – usually monetary – to the plaintiff. Claiming that you weren’t aware of the terms of the agreement is not a valid defense since the courts will assume that you complied with a “ duty to read” before you signed the document.
There are some extenuating circumstances however, that are considered legitimate excuses for breaching a contract. If you can prove that you signed the contract under duress, that is if the other party forced you to sign holding some sort of threat over you, any breach will be forgiven. This defense can apply to a contract that provides for unreasonable demands put upon you – things that you would obviously not agree to of your own accord.
A “frustration” defense can be successful if the contract in question is determined to be no longer relevant. If you agreed to buy a private boat dock for instance, and it was destroyed by a force of nature there would be no further reason for the existence of the contract.
Certain types of contracts are required to be drawn up in writing in order to be binding, but if the contract that you signed does not fit under that category any breach will be forgiven.
The best thing that you can do to protect yourself from being found liable for breach of contract is to seek the advice of legal counsel. Call the firm of Parker Lawyers @ 303-841-9525.