Minors Which May Legally Sign a Contract


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Minors sign contracts occasionally, but these situations cause severe complications for a business if the employer is not family. However, there are certain instances where a minor is permitted to become involved in contractual obligations as if he or she were an adult facing the same choices.

Most contracts require the minor to reach his or her majority at the age of eighteen before he or she is permitted to sign the document. When this is the case, some circumstances exist that permit the youth to become involved in agreements unless he or she disaffirms the obligations and repudiates the contract before he or she is of legal age. However, some of these could be voidable contracts for each party to end at any time. When the individual is still considered a legal minor, it is important to know when these documents are enforceable and when the young person may leave without a breach of contract.

The primary way for a young individual to sign a contract and be treated as if he or she were a legal adult is when emancipation is achieved. This usually entails the teen facing some circumstances where he or she must leave a family, has no family or marries before reaching legal age. The courts may emancipate the minor, a marriage may do so and extensive documentation may lead to the situation. When emancipated in the eyes of the law, the youth is no longer a minor and may enter into contracts in the standard way. However, it is still important to have a lawyer present when signing the document.

Contractual Obligations

When a person signs a contract, he or she should have an intention of abiding by the terms and conditions. These are legal obligations that are enforced through lawful action when the clauses are enforceable in a court of law. Additionally, contracts may hold certain persons to a course of action such as signing on for copyright materials and only providing a portion of them. Another may have services of one party exchanged for monetary payment from the other. However, when the contract is broken, the person or company that is in breach has violated the terms. This generally requires a lawyer to pursue a remedy against the other party.

Obligations through contracts may hold the parties to a service per payment system, or the deal could be for an item that is sold. When one person is provided the product, but the other does not pay for it, this is often a breach of contract and considered theft. The individual or company may have legal recourse to pursue action for the payment or some other remedy. Depending on the circumstances, additional fees and penalties may be added to the awarded amount. Sometimes, the remedy may entail a lien placed on a home or a business when payment has not been received.

Emancipation for Minors

Contracts are used to enforce all manner of activities between parties. This could cover housing, business and individual agreements. When a contract is broken, one party is harmed in the process, and this could lead to a court case where the person or entity in breach is defending against the behavior or person aggrieved. These are all considerations when the individual youth has become emancipated. While a teen that has not yet reached majority may sign a contract that is upheld until he or she decides to disavow it, he or she may not be legally held to the conditions unless he or she is an emancipated teen. At this point, the young person is considered legally an adult.

When someone below the age of eighteen has married another individual, he or she may be considered emancipated and have legal obligations through contractual documents. Another teen may become emancipated when he or she has no family and is not willing to remain in foster care. Sometimes, a judge may grant emancipation based on real life situations that are compromising for the youth. At this point, the teen is no longer considered a child but an adult. He or she may sign contracts with full legal obligations and responsibilities. He or she may work for a company that requires a non-compete contract or nondisclosure agreement. Additionally, he or she may sign a lease and become responsible for any fees for breach of the lease. However, it is important to hire a lawyer before signing any contracts with possible detrimental effects.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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