Last week I had several instances come up where a client was looking to terminate an arrangement for one reason or another. In each circumstance, while not necessarily the client's first thought, the most relevant point of our discussion was that proper termination was not to be reasoned out or by guess-work, how to terminate was in each instance governed by the underlying contract between the parties.
Contract termination begins at the start of the relationship, because that is when the parties stipulate on what terms either may exit. In a mutual arrangement, typically notice (time frame and actual method of notifying of termination) is the same for either party. Sometimes, notice is different or different allowances for termination exist depending on the arrangement. What remains true across the board is failing to terminate in accordance with contract terms is a potential breach of contract, and a breach where the non-breaching party may have cause for damages. Damages sought for improper termination may be cost of a replacement, cost of immediate coverage, cost of recruitment, lost rent, lost rental value, etc.
Terminating a relationship oftentimes causes extreme stress, frequently on the terminating party. I find for clients that stress starts well before it dawns on the individual there is a required procedure for termination, which may substantially cuts down the "what ifs" and "how shoulds" worrying time. So, before worrying about the procedure for termination, start with the basics. You may find you have already worked out the details of termination in your underlying agreement upon revisiting. If you cannot find your contract, ask your lawyer who represented you at the time. He or she should have on file, assuming you sent an executed version for safe keeping to your counsel. If you have questions on what your contract requires for termination, contact Jennifer at (516) 747 6700 x. 302 or at Jennifer@kirschenbaumesq.com
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