Ways to Void a Contract

By Jonathan McLelland

A contract is a written agreement between two or more parties and is designed to show a legal meeting of the minds. Contracts are used for a wide variety of purposes, which may include hiring an individual or company to perform work or agreeing to pay a certain amount of money for debts. While a signed and dated contract is legally binding, and cannot be simply broken, you may be able to void one by following several steps.

Talk With the Other Party

Discuss with the other party the reasons why you wish to void the contract. Prior to talking, create a document explaining in detail the reasons why you wish to void the contract and provide a copy of the document to the other party. Propose two different methods for voiding the contract to show you wish to avoid causing difficulties or distress to the other party. If the party agrees to void the contract, create a void-contract document, which states the void date. Have both parties sign the void-contract document.

Prove Duress

If you were forced to sign a contract against your will, this is known as duress signing, something difficult to prove in court. The American Bar Association states that signing a contract under duress may also be defined as being forced to sign due to no other practical choice, which may be termed economic duress. If you wish to void a contract due to duress, contact a lawyer and provide him with evidence supporting your duress claim. The American Bar Association advises that a claim regarding signing a contract under duress must be made quickly because court systems rarely rule in your favor if a substantial amount of time has passed since the contract signing.

Prove Fraud

Contract fraud involves one signer being misled by the other party. Because one party expects a different result from the contract, there is no meeting of the minds, which justifies voiding of the contract. In order to void a contract for fraud, the signer must prove he signed the contract under false pretenses. For example, if a person purchases a vehicle through a contract indicating a 50,000 mile odometer reading, then learns that the mileage is higher, the contract may be voided for fraud. The American Bar Association states that fraud exists when any statements within a contract are substantially different from the truth. Contact a lawyer if you believe you signed a contract under fraudulent pretenses and show evidence to prove your case.

Shifting Situations

A contract can be voided due to a change in circumstances that makes performing the duties outlined in the contract impossible. This is known as an impossibility of performance and removes responsibility from both parties to fulfill the contract. For example, if you hired an auto painter to paint your vehicle and are then involved in an auto accident rendering the vehicle totaled, the vehicle is unavailable for the paint job, making the contract impossible to fulfill.

About the Author

Jonathan McLelland has been a professional writer since 2005. He has worked as a story writer and editor for the international sitcom, “Completing Kaden,” as well as a proposal writer for various production companies. McLelland studied communication and theater at St. Louis Community College.

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