Minors and Contract Lawyers

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Who Is a Minor or Infant?

Traditionally, a minor or an infant is anyone under the age of 21. This has been changed by statutes in almost every state, and a minor is now anyone under the age of 18. The term infant and minor are used interchangeably in most situations.

What Is the Rule When Contracting With an Infant?

Generally seeking, anyone who contracts with an infant or minor is doing so at their own peril. That means that the law gives to infants the ability to void, or exit the contract as they see fit. The most common justification for the rule is to protect minors from assuming obligations which they are not capable of understanding. It is obvious to see that this will lead to harsh results, so some general exceptions have been created.

Are There Exceptions to Creating a Binding Contract with a Minor?

If every contract with a minor was invalid, no one in their right mind would ever enter into a contract with a minor. To allow some minors to enter into contracts and/or prevent minors from abusing their position, there are several exceptions including: 

Sports or Entertainment Contracts

Generally speaking, minors who enter into sports or entertainment contracts are held to them, and cannot void them at will.

Necessaries

Contracts for certain goods and services that are necessary to the health and safety of infants cannot be voided. Such goods and services include food, clothing, and lodging or shelter. In some instances, an automobile or motorcycle is also considered a necessary.  

Disaffirm the Whole Contract  

A minor who decides to void a contract because of his age must void the entire contract. The law does not let them to continue to enforce some of the contract while voiding other parts.

Ratification 

A minor can only void a contract while they are still under the age of maturity (again, usually 18), or for a reasonable time after they have reached that age. If a person does nothing to disaffirm the contract after they stop being a minor, the law can find that they will no longer be able to void the contract

Can an Attorney Help Me with Minor Contracts?

If contracting with a minor, the contract may not be legally enforceable. If you are in the process of drafting a contract, or have already done so and the other party is seeking to defend against its enforcement because they are a minor, contacting an attorney is strongly recommended.

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Last Modified: 01-20-2014 02:27 PM PST

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