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FAQ
Petitions To Approve Minors Contracts



1. How many petitions do I file and what is the filing fee if there is more than one minor?

2. If there are other parties to the contract who are adults, do I need to name them as parties to the petition?

3. What if there is no written employment contract between the minor and his/her lender? 

4. What if the written employment contract between the minor and his/her lender does not indicate the percentage of income that the minor is entitled to for his/her services or indicates a percentage of less than 100% (minus expenses incidental to the employment, or similar language)? 

5. What if Petitioner is related to the minor?

6. What if the contract is not among the type of contracts listed under Family Code Section 6750 or Labor Code 1700.37? 

7. What if the minor performing services is an independent contractor? 

8. What if there is release language in the contract that exculpates Petitioner from liability for intentional wrong, gross negligence, or violation of law? 

9. What type of document is acceptable to evidence the minor’s date of birth?

10. What percentage of the minor’s income must be set aside? 

11. Does the blocked account have to be in California? 

12. Do I need both parents to sign the quitclaim required for a minor residing outside California?

13. Does the court accept copied and faxed signatures?

14. May a parent act as guardian ad litem if the parents have guaranteed the minor's performance and agreed to idemnify Petitioner from any losses caused by the minor's disaffirmance or breach of contract?

15. May a parent act as guardian ad litem if the parent is also receiving compensation for services rendered or rights granted to Petitioner?

16. May both parents be named in the petition as the minor's guardian ad litem?

17. How many copies of documents do I need to submit to the court?

18. Do original documents need to be hole punched at the top?

19. Does the court require blue backs?

20. Where can I file my petition?

21. How do I obtain approval of an amendment to a contract previously approved by the court?

1.     Q. How many petitions do I file and what is the filing fee if there is more than one minor?

        A. If more than one minor has signed the contract, file only one petition (but change the proposed order to provide for separate blocked account(s) for each minor).  If each minor has signed a different contract, file a petition for each contract.  If you have more than one contract between the same minor and Petitioner(s), you can file one petition.  The filing fee is $435 per petition, regardless of how many minors are parties to the action.

2.     Q. If there are other parties to the contract who are adults, do I need to name them as parties to the petition? 

        A.  No, but
Family Code Section 6751(b) requires that all parties to the contract be given notice of the petition and opportunity to be heard.  Therefore, if you obtain a waiver of notice from the guardian ad litem on behalf of the minor, you should also obtain a waiver of notice from any adult contracting parties even though they are not parties to the petition.

3.    Q. What if there is no written employment contract between the minor and his/her lender? 

        A. You will need a declaration from an officer of the corporation stating that there is no written contract but that it is hereby irrevocably and perpetually agreed and understood that the minor is entitled to 100% of the compensation payable to the lender for the minor’s services, less expenses incidental to the employment, which expenses shall not include fees or other compensation payable to a parent of the minor, or similar language.

4.    Q. What if the written employment contract between the minor and his/her lender does not indicate the percentage of compensation that the minor is entitled to for his/her services or indicates a percentage that is less than 100% (less expenses incidental to the employment, or similar language)? 

        A. The court may find that the contract between the paying entity and the lender is vague as to whether said contract is in the best interest of the minor or that the contract is not in the best interest of the minor.

5.    Q. What if Petitioner is related to the minor?

        A. There may be a conflict of interest if either parent is guardian ad litem and a concern over whether there was arm’s-length negotiations.

6.    Q. What if the contract is not among the types of contracts listed under Family Code Section 6750 or Labor Code 1700.37

        A. If the contract is a settlement of a minor’s claim, you may file a minor’s compromise action in the Probate Department pursuant Probate Code Section 3500.  If the contract is for attorney services in litigation, the petition should be heard by the same judicial officer handling the pending litigation or by the probate department having jurisdiction of the guardianship estate of the minor.  (Family Code 6602.)  If there is no statute giving the court authority to approve the contract, then the contract is voidable at the minor's discretion, except as provided under Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 11 of the Family Code (commencing with section 6710).   

7.     Q. What if the minor performing services is an independent contractor? 

        A. The court may require a declaration showing compliance with California child labor laws that would have been applicable had the minor been employed by Petitioner in California.  Note: California Labor Code Section 1308 states:


(a) Any person is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), imprisonment for not exceeding six months, or both, who, as parent, relative, guardian, employer, or otherwise having the care, custody, or control of any minor under the age of 16 years, exhibits, uses, or employs, or in any manner or under any pretense, sells, apprentices, gives away, lets out, or disposes of the minor to any person, under any name, title, or pretense for, or who causes, procures, or encourages the minor to engage in any of the following:

(1) Any business, exhibition, or vocation injurious to the health or dangerous to the life or limb of the minor.

(2) The vocation, occupation, service, or purpose of singing, playing on musical instruments, rope or wire walking, dancing, begging, or peddling, or as a gymnast, acrobat, contortionist, or rider, in any place whatsoever.

(3) Any obscene, indecent, or immoral purposes, exhibition, or practice whatsoever. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this paragraph shall apply to a person with respect to any minor under the age of 18 years.

(4) Any mendicant or wandering business.

Any person who willfully violates this section shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or to imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or both. No person shall be imprisoned under this section, except for an offense committed after the conviction of that person for a prior offense under this article.

(b) Nothing in this section applies to or affects any of the following:

(1) The employment or use of any minor as a singer or musician in any church, school, or academy, or the teaching or learning of the science or practice of music.

(2) The employment of any minor as a musician at any concert or other musical entertainment, or as a performer in any form of entertainment, on the written consent of the Labor Commissioner pursuant to Section 1308.5.

(3) The participation by any minor of any age, whether or not the minor receives payment for his or her services or receives money prizes, in any horseback riding exhibition, contest, or event other than a rough stock rodeo event, circus, or race. As used in this paragraph, "rough stock rodeo event" means any rodeo event operated for profit or operated by other than a nonprofit organization in which unbroken, little-trained, or imperfectly trained animals are ridden or handled by the participant, and shall include, but not be limited to, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, and bull riding. As used in this paragraph, "race" means any speed contest between two or more animals that are on a course at the same time and that is operated for profit or operated other than by a nonprofit organization.

(4) The leading of livestock by a minor in nonprofit fairs, stock parades, livestock shows and exhibitions.


(California Labor Code Section 1308 (emphasis added).)

8.    Q. What if there is release language in the contract that exculpates Petitioner from liability for intentional wrong, gross negligence, or violation of law? 

        A. The language is void as a matter of law.  Therefore, the court may require an amendment to the contract. 

9.    Q. What type of document is acceptable to evidence the minor’s date of birth?

        A. A state issued certificate of birth or document issued by a governmental entity that would have required the presentation of a state issued certificate of birth, e.g., passport, driver’s license, etc.

10.    Q. What percentage of the minor’s income must be set aside in a Coogan Account? 

        A. 15% is mandatory.  (
Family Code 6752(b)(1).)
   
11.    Q. Does the Coogan Account have to be located in California?

        A. Yes, pursuant to
Family Code 6753(a).

12.    Q. Do I need both parents to sign the quitclaim required for a minor residing outside California?

        A. Generally, yes.  The verified petition should allege if a parent is deceased.  The court does not need a quitclaim from a non-custodial parent if proof is submitted to show: (1) The minor resides in a state where only the custodial parent is entitled to the minor’s services and earnings, and (2) A parent or legal guardian has sole custody of the minor pursuant to a judgment.  If a parent is in prison or otherwise not available, you may submit proof for the court’s consideration.

13.    Q. Does the court accept copied and faxed signatures?

        A. Yes.

14.    Q. May a parent or legal guardian act as guardian ad litem if either parent or legal guardian has guaranteed the minor's performance and agreed to indemnify Petitioner from any losses relating to the minor's disaffirmance or breach of contract?

        A. Yes.  Whether or not the contract is approved, the parent or legal guardian who has made such a guarantee is liable for losses if the minor does not perform the contract.  Since the interests of the parent or legal guardian are unaffected by the outcome of this litigation, there is no conflict of interest, and therefore, the parent or legal guardian may serve as guardian ad litem.  (See Berg v. Traylor (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 809 (guardian ad litem required because mother's liability for commissions due under the contract in the event of minor's disaffirmance was in direct conflict with minor's right to disaffirm the contract)).

15.    Q. May a parent or legal guardian act as guardian ad litem if the parent or legal guardian is also receiving compensation for services rendered or rights granted to Petitioner?

        A. Generally yes, if  the positions of the minor and guardian ad litem are not adverse to each other.

16.    Q. May both parents be named in the petition as the minor's guardian ad litem?

        A. No.  A minor may appear as a party in an action only by and through one guardian ad litem.  (Code of Civil Procedure 372.)

17.    Q. How many copies of documents do I need to submit to the court?

        A. You should submit one original and at least one copy of each document.  The copies are for your records.  The court does not need any additional face sheets of documents.

18.    Q. Do original documents need to be hole punched at the top?

        A. Yes.

19.    Q. Does the court require blue backs?

        A. No.

20.    Q. Where can I file my petition?

        A. The superior court in any county in which the minor resides or is employed or in which any party to the contract has its principal office in this state for the transaction of business.   (Family Code 6751(a).)  In Los Angeles County, a petition to approve a minor's contract is heard by the Supervising Judge of the Family Law Department, Central District, Dept. 2.

21.    Q. How do I obtain approval of an amendment to a contract previously approved by the court?
   
        A. You may file a motion under the previous case number or you may file a new petition.  Either way, please attach a copy of the previously approved contract and order approving the contract.




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