92. VALID CONTRACTS - The valid contracts of an infant are:
(a) Contracts created by law, or quasi contracts.
(b) Contracts entered into under authority or direction of law.
(c) Contracts made in order to do what he was legally bound to do, and could have been compelled to do.
93. VOID CONTRACTS - In some jurisdictions a contract of an infant which is manifestly and without doubt to his prejudice is void.
94. VOIDABLE CONTRACTS - The tendency is to hold all contracts other than valid ones simply voidable at the infant's option.
An infant, at common law, is a person under twenty-one years of age, whether male or female; but in some jurisdictions, by statute, females attain their majority at eighteen, either for all purposes or for particular purposes specified in the statute. Since the common law, as a rule, does not regard fractions of a day, an infant becomes of age on the beginning of the day before his or her twenty-first or eighteenth birthday, as the case may be.34
32 Vilas v. Downer, 21 Vt 419; Garrey v. Stadler, 67 Wis. 243, 30 N. W. 7S7, 58 Am. Rep. 877; Price v. Hay, 132 I11. 543, 24 N. E. 620; Boyd v. Lee, 36 S. C. 19, 15 S. E. 332. In New Jersey, counsel fees, as such, cannot be recovered in the absence of an express agreement. Van Atta v. McKinney's Ex'rs, 16 N. J. Law, 235; Blake v. City of Elizabeth, 2 N. J. Law J. 328. Fed. Cas. No. 1,495; Hopper v. Ludlum, 41 N. J. Law, 182. It is otherwise where there is an express agreement to pay for them. Zabriskie v. Woodruff, 48 N. J. Law, 610, 7 Atl. 336. See "Attorney and Client," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 158, 159; Cent. Dig. §§ S58, S61; "Physicians and Surgeons;' Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 2/,; Cent. Dig. §§ 58-62.
33 See post, p. 325.
As we shall see, the contracts of an infant, as a rule, are not void, but simply voidable at his option. The rule is intended for the infant's benefit; and it may therefore be said that infancy in effect confers a privilege, rather than imposes a disability.
Emancipation of an infant by his parent gives him the right to his earnings, and releases him from his parent's control, but it does not remove his disability, and clothe him with the power to contract.35 So statutes removing the common-law disabilities of married women do not operate to remove the disabilities of infancy from an infant married woman.36