What is a "minor's agreement"?

2 Answers

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

A minor’s agreement is a contract entered with an individual of minority age. This means that the contract is void ab initio (from the beginning). Most if not all contract Acts around the world require that entities to an agreement be competent and of majority/legal age. This means that during contractual agreements it is necessary to confirm the age of the parties.

In case one is a minor the contract becomes void from the beginning and in actual sense the contract cannot be enforced against the minor even when the minor becomes of age. However legal Acts around the world allow execution of the contract if it was beneficial to the minor. For example a promissory note in favor of the minor can be executed by the minor.

In a situation where the competent party is induced by the minor to enter a contract where the minor misrepresents their age, the competent party will be unable to recover the contract since the minor will simply plead infancy.

A minor cannot bind his or her parents to a contract with a third party unless the minor is acting as an agent in which case the parents become liable for the contract.

Basically minor’s agreement will be enforceable if it is beneficial to the minor or the contract has been entered on behalf of the minor by the parent or guardian.

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kipling2448's profile pic

kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

That individuals in the United States as well as in much of the world are considered adults when they reach the age of 18 is somewhat arbitrary. The notion of 18 as the age of consent derives primarily from decisions regarding the age at which individuals, historically boys/men, are suitable for induction into the armed forces. That age subsequently became the baseline beyond which other decisions purportedly separating adults from children were made, including voting and, for many years, the purchase and consumption of alcohol. Basically, those below the age of 18 are considered too mentally immature to make life-defining decisions. Fair or not, 18 is the dividing line between adulthood and childhood.

Because the age of 18 has been established for legal purposes as the age of maturity, contractual matters involving individuals under that age are considered legally tenuous. A "minor's agreement," then, refers to a contractual arrangement involving at least one party who is under the age of consent. Except in certain circumstances, such agreements carry little to no legal weight. The "minor" is considered too mentally immature to be responsible for his or her actions with respect to legal matters. The exceptions come into play when the minor has demonstrated the capacity to take care of him- or herself over a period of time, such as when a minor has separated from his or her parents and lives independently, including being responsible for payment of housing, utilities, and groceries.

In conclusion, then, a "minor's agreement" is one that involves an individual or individuals under the age of 18. Its validity as a binding contractual document is dependent upon the variables mentioned above, as when the minor has a record of independence, including, possibly, being legally married. Absent the presence of those factors, the legal strictures or requirements specified in the contract in question are highly tenuous.