How to Enforce Contracts with Minors - Legal Lesson

Hi everyone!

After reading quite a few posts by people complaining about the difficulty in enforcing development contracts they enter into with minors, I thought I’d make an informative post to try shine some light on how things work!

As a fellow Roblox developer of many years, I’m well aware of how stressful it can be when you hire a developer who fails to honour their side of a development commission either in part or entirely. Unfortunately, most of these arrangements aren’t legally bound by any sort of contract, and on the rare occasion a contract is used, it usually isn’t enforceable against a child. However, this isn’t because contracts can’t be enforced against children; it’s because the contract itself must exist under a set of circumstances.

Q: If I hire a minor to developer for me and make them sign a contract, is the contract enforceable?
A: The answer will always be: it depends, which at the very least means the answer is not no!

I’ll be doing my best in this post to explain how you can enforce a contract signed by a minor to ensure that you aren’t wasting your time and your money. The fact of the matter is that there are tons of very talented minors on Roblox who could prove incredible assets to your team, but at the same time could be as big of a liability - so it’s important to keep yourself protected.

Disclaimer:
I am a Lawyer in Australia. I do not have a license to practice law in the state of California, United States, and nothing you read in this post is legal advice given by a legal practitioner within a jurisdiction of the United States. All contents of this post are purely informative for the purpose of assisting my fellow developers.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with it!

Q: How do I enforce a contract entered into with a minor?
A: For Americans hiring American developers, it all depends on which state you’re in. To be clear, a contract entered into with a minor can be enforced, but that is subject to what conditions each state’s respective laws require the contract to meet.

Let’s take California for example, where every Roblox developer and their Tesla seems to reside. If you enter into a contract with a minor in California, whether or not you can enforce the contract depends on whether you had that contract approved by the superior Court of your county. In California, if a contract with a minor is not approved by the Court, the minor has the option to do what’s called ‘disaffirm’ the contract. If they do this, then the contract cannot be enforced. However, if you get the contract approved by the Court, then the contract can be enforced! Take a look at California Family Code, §6751 if you’re interested.

Q: If I’m in California and the minor I want to hire is in Texas, do California laws apply?
A: Only if you include in your contract what’s called a choice of law provision, which dictates which state’s laws your contract will be governed by, and also determines which state’s laws will be used to resolve any dispute that comes from your contract.

Anyway that’s the end of my spill. The main point of this post was to shed some light on the fact that minors can be held accountable under a contract they have signed, so long as you take all the right steps to ensure it!

Q: I don’t live in California, how do I know what steps I can take to protect my interests?
A: I recommend visiting a practicing law firm or community legal service in your state! If you google ‘pro-bono legal service [town/state]’ (pro-bono means free), you should be able to find some quick and easy free legal advice to help you out! Like I said in my disclaimer, I can’t give you legal advice unless you happen to live in my jurisdiction, but I’m always happy to talk if anyone has questions (Toothpaste#2512).

Q: I don’t live in America [or] my developer doesn’t live in America, is this process much different?
A: Enforcing international contracts is a whole other beast, but fortunately I also have some informative pieces on this area from a while ago! See below if you’re interested–

1: Legal Lesson - How International Contracts are Enforced
2: Developer Contracts on Roblox - Legal Lesson

Thanks for having a read, and I hope I helped a bit! If I’ve at-least convinced you that it can be done, then I’m satisfied.

~nd89

11 Likes

I am not a lawyer, so what I know about the topic may be incorrect

I will say that in most cases (especially internationally), getting a minor to sign a contract that can be then enforced is a complex process and you probably shouldn’t be writing it yourself if you don’t have any legal knowledge on the subject, it not only requires learning your own country / state’s laws but also the country of the other person’s laws.

5 Likes

This should be in #resources:community-tutorials

Nah, this isn’t a tutorial because I’m not giving anyone instructions. An informative piece belongs in resources.

100% - I said this in my other posts and I should have said it in this one as well: do not try to write your own contract or grab some free internet template. Get a lawyer to draft one tailored for your specific needs!