This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If a liability is imposed upon an infant by Common Law, equity or statute, a fair and reasonable contract entered into for the purpose of discharging the liability is valid.1 Thus, if an infant holds the legal title to property in trust and agrees to and does execute the trust he cannot thereafter avoid such executed agreement.2 So where a mortgage debt is discharged, an infant mortgagee is bound by his release ;3 and an infant to whom the legal title is conveyed in order to defraud his father's creditors is bound by his conveyance at his father's direction,4 especially where he conveys for the benefit of the defrauded creditors.5 So an infant who by agreement with the executor buys land in his own name at the executor's sale and at once conveys it to the executor, cannot afterward avoid such conveyance.6 Since an infant as well as an adult is subject to Criminal Law, it follows that bonds and other undertakings entered into pursuant to such laws are valid. Of this class are recognizances,7 bonds to pay fines,8 and assignments to avoid arrest.9 Thus a minor who had fraudulently obtained. goods by representing himself to be of full age, and who was lawfully arrested therefor on a civil suit, which arrest he avoided by making an assignment under the statute, cannot avoid such assignment.10 Further an infant is subject to the statutes concerning bastardy as well as an adult; and therefore his undertakings under such statutes such as bonds to the public, to support the child,11 or agreements with the mother, by way of compromise, for its support.12 Other examples of valid contracts are dissolving bonds or re-delivery bonds, given by an infant to obtain possession of his property previously attached, or the proceeds thereof.13 So agreements for the discharge of valid liens are binding.14 So a male infant who marries is bound at Common Law for his wife's ante-nuptial debts.15
8 Woodruff v. Logan, 6 Ark. 276; 42 Am. Dec. 695.
9Walter v. Everard (1891), 2 Q. B. 369. This case distinguishes Gylbert v. Fletcher, Cro., Car. 179. on the ground that in the latter case ample remedies for enforcing good behavior existed in the master's right of punishment, or if appealing to a justice of the peace; reasons which "do not apply to a covenant by an infant to pay a premium."
10Gylbert v. Fletcher. Cro. Car. 179; Lylly's Case, 7 Mod. 15; Moses v. Stevens, 2 Pick. (Mass.) 332. Ordinary contracts for work and labor present different questions from contracts of apprenticeship which involve instruction, and are separately discussed.
11 Anderson v. Young. 54 S. Car. 388; 44 L. R. A. 277: 32 S. E. 448.
J Elliott v. Horn. 10 Ala. 34S; 44 Am. Dec. 488; Nordholt v. Nordholt,
87 Cal. 552; 22 Am. St. Rep. 268; 26 Pac. 599; Stowers v. Hollis. 83 Ky. 544; Starr v. Wright. 20 O. S. 97: Williams v. Ivory. 173 Pa. St. 536; 34 Atl. 291; Kearby v. Hopkins. 14 Tex. Civ. App. 166; 36 S. W. 506.
2 Elliott v. Horn. 10 Ala. 348; 44 Am. Dec. 488; Nordholt v. Nordholt. 87 Cal. 552: 22 Am. St. Rep. 268; 26 Pac. 599; Prouty v. Edgar, 6 Ia. 353 (where the minor conveyed the legal title) ; Bridges v. Bidwell. 20 Neb. 185; 29 X. W. 302 (where the minor mortgaged the legal title) ; Trader v. Jarvis. 23 W. Va. 100 (where the minor assigned his interest in an indemnity bond on being protected against loss).
3Zouch v. Parsons. 3 Burr. 1794.
4 Elliott v. Horn. 10 Ala. 348: 44 Am. Dec. 488.
5 Starr v. Wright, 20 O. S. 97.
6 Sheldon's Lessee v. Newton, 3 O. S. 494.
7 State v. Weatherwax, 12 Kan. 463; McCall v. Parker, 13 Met. (Mass.) 372; 46 Am. Dec. 735.
8 Dial v. Wood, 9 Baxt. (Tenn.) 296.
9 People v. Mullin, 25 Wend. (N. Y.) 698; Williams v. Ivory, 173 Pa. St. 536; 34 Atl. 291.
10 Williams v. Ivory, 173 Pa. St. 536; 34 Atl. 291, in which case the court said, citing and quoting People v. Mullin. 25 Wend. (N. Y.) 698, "an infant as well as an adult was entitled to the benefit of the act which is general in its terms, viz., 'every person may at any time petition,' etc. Besides the relief from imprisonment being so highly beneficial to the petitioner his act in making an assignment must in law be regarded as valid notwithstanding his nonage."
11 Bordentown v. Wallace, 50 N. J. L. 13; 11 Atl. 267; People v. Moores, 4 Denio (N. Y.) 518; 47 Am. Dee. 272.
12 Gavin v. Burton, 8 Ind. 69; Stowers v. Hollis, 83 Ky. 544.
13 Sanger v. Hibbard, 2 Ind. Ter. 547; 53 S. W. 300.
14 Where there was a mortgage on land given to a minor by her father, and subsequently the father agreed with the mortgagee for an extension of time, the minor not objecting and the mortgage was then assigned, it was held that the assignee had a valid lien. Kearby v. Hopkins. 14 Tex. Civ. App. 166; 36 S. W. 506.
15 Butler v. Breek, 7 Met. (Mass.) 164; 39 Am. Dec. 768; Roach v.