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Can a minor sign a contract?

by Abari Abbassi / Jan 25, 2024
Can a minor sign a contract?

Minors are individuals under the age of majority. The age of majority in the US is generally 18 except for Nebraska and Alabama where the majority age is 19. This goes for most other countries as well. Minors lack full legal capacity. They are for example not able to vote, own property, or consent to medical treatment without parental or guardian involvement. However, the treatment of minors in contractual matters is subject to specific legal considerations.

Can a minor sign a contract?

Yes, minors can indeed sign contracts, ranging from summer jobs, and acting gigs, to car purchases. However, the enforceability of such contracts varies significantly. Due to their limited legal capacity, minors generally have the right to opt out of contracts, rendering them legally unenforceable.

Enforceable contracts with minors

Certain contracts, known as "necessaries", are exceptions to the rule. These contracts pertain to essential items crucial for a minor's well-being, including food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and education. Contracts for taxes, bank regulations, civil and criminal penalties, and military service may also be enforceable.

What is a void or voidable contract?

A void contract is considered invalid from the outset, lacking legal effect, and cannot be enforced by either party. On the other hand, a voidable contract is initially valid but can be voided by one of the parties, typically the minor, due to their lack of legal capacity.

How can a minor void a contract?

Minors can opt out of non-essential contracts through legal avenues. They may file a lawsuit seeking to void the contract or defend themselves against contractual obligations by asserting their lack of capacity. However, minors cannot selectively void specific terms of a contract but must void the entire agreement.

Does a contract remain enforceable after the minor reaches adulthood?

Once a minor reaches the age of majority, voidable contracts they entered into may become legally enforceable unless voided within a specified period after attaining adulthood.

What are the other factors that can make a contract voidable?

While age is a significant factor in contract legality, other factors can also influence a contract's enforceability. Mental capacity, intoxication, coercion, and fraud are among the additional considerations that can impact the validity of a contract.

While minors can sign contracts, the enforceability of such agreements may be uncertain. It's crucial to understand your state's laws regarding contracts with minors to make informed decisions and protect your interests. Consulting with a legal professional can provide clarity and guidance in navigating contract law.

Written by Abari Abbassi

Founder of Signer HQ


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