Things You Should Know When Entering a Contract with a Minor

By | October 16, 2021
Contracts Which Must Be Performed

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Technically speaking, an underage person or a minor can’t enter a contract. That’s what the law says. Even if you already have a document signed by a minor, that contract will not be recognized as valid.

It only means whatever policies or conditions that are stated in the contract, you can’t actually enforce them against the minor.

There is a “but”, however. Like any other rule, there is an exemption. According to the Minors Act 1970 No. 60, you can only enter a contract with minors for these two valid reasons:

  • For employing the minor
  • For necessities

More on these later. While it’s totally okay to sign a contract with an underage only for these two reasons, keep in mind that they are not tied to this document. For they can opt-out anytime they want, and you have nothing else to do but to accept it.

Whatever conditions you had written on the contract, you can’t enforce them once the minor decided to back out.

Contract of Employment for Minors

There are several reasons why some minors decide to look for a job even though they’re still underaged. The household they might be living in is having a hard time making ends meet. So they look for part-time jobs so that their family can afford the essentials.

Some minors, on the other hand, are a little more privileged that they just want some extra cash so they can buy some things by themselves, without having to ask for money from their parents.

If you’re the employer, and you’re about to hire the minor, keep in mind that their interests and rights must still be protected. Also, when the minor reaches legal age, he or she can renounce the contract anytime.

But if the minor decides not to renounce the agreement by the time he or she reaches legal age, the contract will remain binding.

Contract of Necessities for Minors

This contract involves all the essentials that minors should receive.

  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Education
  • Health Care

If the minor is already receiving these kinds of necessities through any other means, another contract for the same essentials might not be necessary anymore.

Can you enforce a contract against a minor?

Legally speaking, you can’t. Minors have all the right to back out of any agreement or contract. It doesn’t matter if it’s a contract of employment, a necessities contract, or whatever kind of contract it is. Except for these two situations:

First exception

If you’ve come to an agreement with a minor, but a parent also signed the contract, you might be able to claim something against the parents once the minor decides to renounce the agreement. It doesn’t have to be the parents. It could be a legal guardian or any other signatories.

Second exception

Another exception is when you’re entering a land contract with a minor. The contract is enforceable until the minor you’ve agreed with starts to take steps of opting out of the contract.

Now that we’ve laid out these exceptions, below are the circumstances when you can enforce a contract against a minor.

1. If the minor is no longer a minor and decides to opt-in

Legal age varies depending on what country you are in. So if you’re in a contract with a minor right now, you have to wait until he or she reaches legal age and affirm your contract for you to enforce your agreement.

But if the minor decides to renounce the contract, you have no choice but to let him or her go.

2. If the minor enters a new contract

In some parts of the world, if the minor signs a contract, but then enters a new contract while still a minor, there’s a great possibility that the second agreement will be enforced against him or her. Fortunately, this law is unacceptable here in Australia.

If you’re currently having issues with contracts and legal documents, the best thing to do is to contact legal experts. Or you can click here to know more about what makes a contract valid for your reference.

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Author: Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is a student at Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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