Once two parties reach an agreement in terms and sign on the dotted line of a contract, they are both legally obligated to follow through on their acknowledged promises. If one party should fail to deliver on their promises, then that party is said to be in breach of contract.
There are two broad categories of contractual breaches; minor and material. In the case of a minor breach, the terms of the contract are generally upheld, but the breaching party may have to provide financial compensation for damages to the nonbreaching party.
Take for example a builder who fails to complete a project within the deadline stated in the contract, but will still be able to finish the job according to all other specifications. The builder may have to provide remuneration for the inconvenience caused by the delay, but otherwise the agreement stays intact.
On the other hand, a material breach is a breach of such severity that the nonbreaching party cannot feasibly be compensated for the damages done. In such cases, the nonbreaching party is no longer obligated to fulfill its obligations while the breaching party will likely be required to pay for damages. The court would typically view situations where the breaching party acted negligently, or willfully refused to meet its obligations, as causing a material breach.
A material breach situation could be if a builder used defective materials when constructing a house. If the use of these materials rendered the house uninhabitable, the nonbreaching party would hold no responsibility to pay the builder and the builder could be required to pay compensation.
In breach of contract situations, it is important to determine if the breach rises to the level of being material or if it is still possible for the agreement to continue to its conclusion. If you are in a contract dispute, a Florida business contract attorney may be able to help you get a satisfactory resolution.