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Can a Minor Sign a Non Disclosure Agreement

As more and more businesses rely on intellectual property and trade secrets to gain a competitive edge, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) have become a common tool to protect valuable information. But what happens when a minor is involved in a business transaction that requires an NDA? Can a minor sign a non-disclosure agreement, and if so, are they bound by its terms?

The short answer is that minors can sign NDAs, but they may not be legally bound to them. In most states, including California, minors are not considered competent to enter into contracts. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

One exception is when a minor enters into a contract for necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter. In this situation, the minor is considered competent to make the contract and is bound by its terms. However, an NDA would not fall under this category.

Another exception is when a minor has been emancipated, meaning they are no longer under the control of their parents or legal guardians. In this case, the minor is considered a legal adult and can enter into contracts like any other adult.

However, even if a minor signs an NDA, it may not be enforceable. This is because minors have the legal right to disaffirm (cancel) a contract they have entered into before they turn 18 years old. When a minor disaffirms a contract, they are released from any obligations under the contract.

So, while a minor can technically sign an NDA, it may not be legally enforceable if the minor chooses to disaffirm the contract. It is also important to note that even if the NDA is enforceable, it may be difficult to collect damages from a minor who breaches the agreement.

In conclusion, businesses should be wary of having minors sign NDAs. While it is possible for a minor to sign the agreement, it may not be legally enforceable, and even if it is, collecting damages may prove difficult. It is always best to consult with a legal professional to ensure that any contracts, including NDAs, are legally binding and enforceable.

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