Entering into a contract with a minor can be a tricky proposition. According to our state legislators and relevant statutes, for a person to be considered an adult in the state of Kentucky, they must be 18 years of age. Therefore, under these statutes, persons 18 years or older are competent to enter into binding contracts. But what ability does a person under the age of 18 have to enter into a binding contract?
Ordinarily, a minor who enters into a contract can enforce it, but the minor also may void the contract at their option. If the minor elects to affirm the contract when they turn 18, then the contract is enforceable. In other words, the minor holds all the cards. He or she can affirm and enforce, or disavow and void at their discretion.
The ability of a minor to set aside a contract exists because, as a matter of public policy, people under the age of 18 are considered and presumed to be too immature and inexperienced to effectively bargain with adults. Any transaction that might result in a minor sustaining a financial loss is scrutinized with care by the courts.
One exception to this general rule is that a person under the age of 18 has the capacity to contract for the value of necessities. Necessities have been held to encompass food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, and even farm equipment and educational needs.
Ultimately, individuals wishing to enter into a binding and enforceable contract with a person under the age of 18 should be very cautious because there is a distinct possibility that the contract will ultimately be deemed unenforceable. If you have any questions about entering a contract with a minor, the team at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey suggest you contact an attorney for help.