Guide to Enforcing Contracts and Legal Agreements

If the other party to a contract is not doing what they agreed to do, or has violated the agreement in a significant way, this is called a breach of contract. To enforce against a breach, you can start out by simply declaring to them that they have breached the agreement and you intend to enforce it. Then the other party would have the opportunity to cure, or fix, the breach.

If they don’t comply, then you may want to file a lawsuit against them. That said, many contracts require that disputes go to arbitration rather than court. If your contract has an arbitration clause, you will likely need to pursue arbitration.

Importantly, you must be able to prove your claims to the court (or arbitrator). In the case of a handshake deal or oral agreement, or implied contract, you may need to prove that there was a binding agreement in the first place (unless the other party concedes this). This can be difficult unless you have witnesses or circumstantial evidence of some kind.

To sue for relatively small amounts of money, up to $5,000 to $20,000 (depending on the state), you can file in small claims court.

See all of your options for dispute resolution.

If you need help enforcing a contract, see our Guide to Legal Help.

Related Pages

Guide to Exercising and Enforcing Your Rights and Resolving Disputes

Contracts and Agreements

Laws for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

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