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Agreement By Minor
Helen, 17, wanted to buy a motorcycle. She did not have the money to pay money, but convinced the merchant to sell her a cycle on credit. The dealer did so in part because Helen said she was 22 and showed the merchant an ID that had mistakenly turned her 22 years old. Helen took the bike. A few days later, she damaged it, then returned it to the dealership and explained that she avoided the contract because she was a minor. The merchant said she could not do it because (a) she had misrepresered her age and (b) the bike had been damaged. Can she get around the contract? Yes, yes. In a state that follows the common law rule, neither the damage to the property nor Helen`s misrepresentation of his age will prevent it from circumventing the contract. Some states would say that Helen has to pay for the damage she has caused because of the misrepresentation of age, but she can bypass the treaty. Some states would argue that Helen cannot avoid the treaty because she misrepreses her age.
A minor may decide to cancel a contract before reaching maturity (depending on the condition, but as a rule 18). The minor can make this decision at any time and even if the contract is fully executed (both parties have fulfilled their contractual obligations) If a minor enters into a contract, the parents are not parties to the contract and cannot be held responsible if the minor does not comply with the contractual terms. But if a parent or both parents sign a contract with the minor, the contract is valid and they are subject to the conditions. After reaching the age of majority, a minor can ratify the treaty. Once the treaty is ratified, the ex-minor will not be able to change his mind and circumvent the treaty. Ratification consists of all the words or behaviours of the minor that show the intention to be bound by the treaty. For example, Smith buys a car from Jones Ford Company for $10,000.00 if Smith is 17. Smith financed the car with Jones for 5 years, payments staggered monthly.
Smith turns 18 and continues to pay Jones two months, then has a wreck. Smith decided to avoid the contract and get his $10,000 back. However, the fact that Smith turned 18 and continued to pay for the car and the use of the car would prevent him from circumventing the contract. Smith`s conduct was a ratification of the treaty. However, many courts refuse to recognize the payment as ratification unless there is further evidence of intent to ratify a treaty or an agreement between a minor that the payment could constitute ratification. In the situation with Smith and Jones, Jones argued that Smith would continue to use the car after he was 18, as well as payments for the car. A minor could not be declared in default because he cannot resort to debts. Even if there is no tax on a minor`s real estate, he is not legally responsible for the same thing.
In addition, a contract with a minor may be cancelled. This means that he can terminate any contract at any time before the age of 18 and for a reasonable period of time thereafter.