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Q:
How can I legally get out of a contract in New York?

A:

People hear about breach of contracts almost as much as they hear about contracts in the first place. They can be promises of the responsibilities someone has to you and you to them, or they can be constant reminders that you are trapped in a legally bound relationship. But there are ways that you can get out of a contract if you’re not happy with the position you’re in.

Here are some legal ways a contract may be broken:

  • Rescission: The contract may be rescinded if there are certain circumstances written in that allow one party to back out of the contract. It may also be rescinded if both parties agree that the contract is no longer beneficial. 
  • Fraud: If the other party in the contract has made fraudulent statements to coerce you into a contract. If your end of the bargain hinges on misstated facts, you may be able to get out of the contract due to fraud.
  • Mistake: Known as a bilateral mistake, the contract may be voided if both parties have mutually misunderstood some portion of the contract. 
  • Duress: A party cannot be forced or coerced into a contract. Illegal pressure to enter a contract can render the contract unenforceable. 
  • Impossibility: It may become impossible for one party to complete its end of the bargain, nullifying the contract. This may happen if a distributor is in contract to provide a restaurant with a product, but then the product is no longer made. It would be impossible for the distributor to continue its obligation. 

These are a few basic ways in which a contract may be legally nullified, and there are a few others as well. If you have questions about how to get out of an onerous contract, or would like advice on contracts in general, contact a New York business litigation lawyer who can help. The Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper offer free consultations, and you can order their book When You Don't Have a Written Agreement for free online.