Photo Attorney

Sep 16, 2006

Capacity to Contract

Photographers often enter into contracts with others, especially when hired to do a shoot. But if the client does not have capacity to contract, then the contract might not be worth the paper it's written on. You may get stuck doing the job for free.

While people generally are given the freedom to contract, they sometimes are deemed by law to be unable to make decisions in their best interest. The law believes that minors, people with a mental disability, those who are in bankruptcy or people who have impaired judgment due to illness, disability, hypnosis, alcohol or drugs do not have capacity to contract. While you may agree to photograph a bride's wedding and she promises to pay you, if she is a minor (under 18 for most states) she can later disaffirm that contract. If you already have shot the wedding when she voids the contract, you may not be paid.

The test of whether someone was mentally impaired when contracting is if he could understand the nature and effect of the contract. Contracts with mentally impaired are void only when a court has previously determined the person to be mentally incompetent.

When contracting with clients, make sure that when they sign on the dotted line they have the capacity to be bound to that contract.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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