Can a minor be held contractually liable for a debt?

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Can a minor be held contractually liable for a debt?

I’m joining a non-profit organization and there is a promissory note in it’s financial agreement: “I understand that if I fail to pay my ‘2011 Membership Fee’ my debt to XX may be turned over to a collection agency and any costs incurred to recover this debt will be charged to the debtor.” Since I’m a minor, the contract requires my signature and my mom’s signature. If my mom doesn’t make the payments on time and they turn over her debt to the collection agency, does this mean I’m liable as well? Will my credit go down?

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, it is my understanding that minors are not held liable under the contracts that they enter in to but they may enforce a contract in the state of California. Now, minors can be said to "ratify" contracts when they reach majority, meaning that the continue to abide by the terms thereby making the contract binding.  But your Mother is co-signing the contract, is that correct?  Then why would you take the chance of defaulting and having them go after her?  If you do not think that you can live up to the terms of this contract do not enter in to it.  It is not good business sense at any age.   


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