Under contract laws, the terms "void" and "voidable" contract may seem similar, but in reality they are very different from one another. The term "void" means that the contract is not currently valid, and the parties are not held to its terms. A void contract is basically unenforceable. This can happen for several reasons, such as:
- The contract required one party to perform acts that are impossible or depend on impossible events
- The contract is against public policy determinations
- The subject matter of the contract involves illegal matters like drug dealing, gambling, and other types of crimes
- The contract unreasonably restricts rights and activities (such as the right to work, or a person’s right to marry someone of their own choosing).
In contrast, voidable contracts are still currently valid; however, they can become void if the non-breaching party decides for that to occur. Factors that might make a contract voidable (i.e., not immediately void) may include:
- Agreements where one party is still a minor
- Contracts involving fraud, deceit or other forms of trickery
- Contracts that where made when one party was drunk, incapacitated, or not of legally sound mind to form a contract
Whether a contract is void or voidable, it’s generally necessary to file a request with the court to have the contract reviewed and analyzed. This will help determine whether the contract is void or simply voidable, and what other remedies might be available. For instance, a damages award may be available in some cases for extra losses caused by a breach of contract.
If you need to have a contract voided, you should keep copies of the contract as well as any documents that were instrumental in the contract formation process. Also, you should keep records of receipts, bills, and other documents that show any losses that you have incurred on account of the contract. These will help provide evidentiary support during trial and during the hearings.
Definitions of contract terms and laws can sometimes be difficult to understand. You may need to hire a contract lawyer if you need help with a void or voidable contract. Your attorney can advise you on what to do next, and can help propose various legal solutions for your situation.