If a party breaches their side of a contract, does that make the whole contract null and void?

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If a party breaches their side of a contract, does that make the whole contract null and void?

I am an independent contractor who has a contract with my company. They are not paying me correctly according to our written contract so I want to know if I am legally bound to that contract?

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A minor breach of a contract does not terminate it, but does give rise to a right to seek compensation or damages.  A material, or important breach--one going to the heart of the agreement--willl let the  other side terminate the contract and possibly also sue for damages (for the money owed). Typically, the payment terms of a contract are considered material, especially when its payment for services (such as by an independent contractor), and so a breach of the payment obligations would likely entitle the other party to terminate without penalty while also bringing a legal action for  the money due under the contract. That said, every situation is different, and you are advised to consult with an attorney about your specific circumstances and contract. Good luck.


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