How to Void a Contract: Everything You Need to Know
Knowing how to void a contract is essential when you need to get out of a contract that is not beneficial to you. 4 min read
2. Offer and Acceptance
3. Object and Competency
5. Written or Verbal
6. Void and Voidable Contracts
7. Void Contract
8. When a Contract Becomes Void
9. Example of a Void Contract
10. Voidable Contract
11. When a Contract Becomes Voidable
Updated November 9, 2020:
Knowing how to void a contract is essential when you need to get out of a contract that is not beneficial to you. The steps to voiding a contract may depend upon the laws of your state. Nevertheless, you should gather enough evidence to support the reasons for voiding a contract and determine whether you need to enter into a new contract.
Basic Contract Elements
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties that must be executed properly by following certain terms and conditions to make it legally acceptable. Upon signing the document, the parties agree to accept certain conditions set out in the contract.
A contract, in order to be legally binding under the state and federal laws, must contain the following basic elements.
Offer and Acceptance
One party to the contract places an offer, and the other party accepts it unconditionally. The terms of the contract are usually put down in writing.
Acceptance of the offer is not an instantaneous process. Both the parties negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract before finalizing the deal. The deed is then drafted with a clear mention of the terms agreed upon by both parties.
Object and Competency
- The agreement done must be for a legal purpose.
- Both parties must have the freedom to accept the terms; it should not be signed by force.
- The parties must have attained the age to legally sign a contract.
- The parties must be mentally stable and competent to execute the contract.
Each of the parties must receive something in return. The value that a party receives is called consideration. For example, where one party sells a vehicle to the other party, the agreement contains the price agreed upon by both parties. In this case, the selling party receives money as a consideration while the buyer receives the vehicle. Thus, both parties receive some benefit from the transaction.
Written or Verbal
In some cases, state and federal laws can enforce a verbal or oral agreement. However, in most cases, a contract must be in writing to be enforceable. For example, deals associated with a large amount of debt, real estate, and last will and testament must be well-documented.
To conclude, an agreement is valid and enforceable if it is consensual and legal, and signed by two adults with a stable mind, who are competent enough to execute the stated terms and conditions until the end of the contract.
Void and Voidable Contracts
A void contract is outright unenforceable; no state or federal law can enforce it. It's not legally binding on any of the parties to follow the terms of a void contract. Due to some missing terms and conditions in the legal document, the contract may get nullified from the beginning, and the court may not recognize it.
When a Contract Becomes Void
- The terms and conditions are illegal and do not follow state-approved public policy.
- One of the parties is mentally unstable.
- Any of the parties have not reached the approved age of consent.
- Certain terms mentioned in the contract are impossible to perform.
- The contract puts a restriction on the rights of a party.
Example of a Void Contract
If you hire an individual and get a contract signed by him or her to perform an illegal act, the agreement can't be legally enforceable. Since the objective of the contract is illegal, it would be void right from the beginning.
A voidable contract is a legally valid form of agreement that can be enforced by law if all the parties decide to respect the terms of the contract. The party which is legally bound may choose to go ahead with the contract, but the other party may object to it on legal ground. If the party which is not legally bound by the contract rejects it, the contract becomes voidable.
When a Contract Becomes Voidable
- A party is threatened or forced into signing the contract.
- A party exerts undue influence over the other.
- One of the parties is a minor, mentally unstable, or otherwise incompetent to enter into a contract.
- The terms and conditions of the agreement are violated.
- Parties commit a mutual mistake.
- The contract carries distorted facts or is prepared with an intention of not fulfilling the promise.
- The contract misrepresents facts.
If you need help with how to void a contract, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.