Legality of a notarized document singed by a minor?

My sister got pregnant when she was fifteen, and after two years agreed with the father that he should have their son live with him until she finds stability and a safe home for the child (she moved a lot and the child was getting very confused where to call home).

The father's mother typed up an agreement and had them sign it in front of a notary. I don't know exactly what it says, but it's basically saying my sister agrees to give up all rights of her son and pay child support. My sister didn't know she was giving up her rights, she just thought she was giving them temporary custody. The father explained the document to her differently than what was on the document. She was also a minor (17 years old) at the time she signed it.

From my experience, I know that only a judge can determine custody. My sister has made attempts in the past to get her son with her again after finding stability (she lives with me now) but they told her she gave up rights, and threatened to arrange so she never sees her son ever again. I've been telling her I can help her file for custody, but it seems like a lost cause since the child has been living with the father (in a good home) for almost three years now.

Would a judge even look at that notarized document? Would he take into consideration that she didn't know what she was signing as a minor, and only allowed the father to keep her son so long because she was harassed and threatened the whole time after attempting to get him back? A coworker told me that the document is fraudulent, what do you know about this?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Since this was done without benefit of legal counsel, and she was a minor, nor through the courts, it doesn't hold legal water. Call your local county bar association and tell them the circumstances, they will hook you up with an attorney who deals with this type of law.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A notary only validates that the person whom signed the agreement has shown proof of identity. A notary does not valid if the contract is legal or valid.

    A minor cannot legally sign a contract. Yes, a judge will look at it but will end up placing no value on it.

    If the child is currently is in a good home, the judge will be reluctant to give custody to the other parent. A judge will go by what is best for the child. That means stability in a child's life. Increased visitation is a different matter altogether.

  • 1 decade ago

    The document is not legal. It isn't fraudulent, but the no judge would pay much attention to it's validity. You have to be of legal age to enter into a valid contract.

    If money's really tight your sister should go to the Family Law court and contact the Family Law Facilitators for assistance in filling out the necessary paperwork if she wants to regain custody of her son. Her better course of action would be to contact an attorney who practices family law. They'll get the ball rolling in a big way.

    Your sister will need the equivalent of a parenting plan put into place that determines custody. From what you've explained, if the father is giving her son a good home, it may wind up being a case of 50/50 custody. But 50% is better than nothing, right?

  • 1 decade ago

    You are wrong on many counts. First the parents can determine custody without ever speaking to a judge, if they both agree, which is what your sister did. Secondly, a 6 year old can have a document notarized as long as he has a legal picture ID. I am assuming your sister had a driver's license, so it is legal. Thirdly, custody can always be changed. Hire a lawyer and file for custody ASAP. The longer you delay, the harder the fight will be. Their preventing her from having contact with the child definitely works against them. They have handled this completely wrong, and a good lawyer can make that show in court.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Mom still has parental rights, which she is wise to assert at the very least for the pyschological well-being of child. A judge would no doubt look at the 'notarized document,' though its force and effect are questionable at best. Of greater importance is the amount of time mom has waited to assert her rights and, at the same time, the amt of time child has lived in happy home with dad. Court considers the best interest of the CHILD, which in this case, is stable home at present. Unless dad messes up, mom should be loathe to upset it in any way other than asserting a passionate desire to know/visit with child. For this to work, she should be prepared to be esp civil with dad and stepmom if there is one. She did, after all, relinquish child whatever the circs.

    It's always sad when people accord notaries with the expertise of attys. This document should never have happened. Nevertheless, sounds like dad was just a kid himself and was pretty resourceful in seeking first custody and then some evidence that both parents had at least turned their minds to the issue of custody. Mom should now devote energy toward finding family law atty she likes to discuss options, including how to act for the best with dad and child and the court to ensure her relationship with child

  • 1 decade ago

    The agreement is worthless in the eyes of the law- not just because she was a minor, but because the document determines custody of a minor child. The state will refuse to recognize any agreement that makes that kind of determination, the state will give custody of the child to whatever parent is best suited for parenting and wants the child.

    Source(s): Law Student
  • 1 decade ago

    I don't think a judge will pay much attention to the document. Here's why:

    Consider the following scenario: A guy gets a woman pregnant. He doesn't want to be responsible for the baby. So he pays the mother $1000 in cash in exchange for entering into an agreement where he gives up parental rights. Now the child is on welfare and he gets to keep his money.

    I don't think so!

    So it's *very* hard to give up your parental rights, because those include parental responsibilities.

    That document definitely doesn't cut it.

    I don't know what the law is in your jurisdiction, but this one is typical:

    "An agreement for a man or woman to give up in whole or in part, in relation to any child of his or hers, the parental rights, authority, and obligations referred to in this section shall be unenforceable, except that an agreement made between husband and wife which is to operate only during their separation while married may, in relation to a child of theirs, provide for either of them to do so; but no such agreement between husband and wife shall be enforced by any court if the court is of opinion that it will not be for the benefit of the child to give effect to it."

  • wizjp
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Will he look at it? Yup. Will it make a difference? Nope.

    Fradulent? Nope. Just really a weak excuse for a legality. Better than a verbal agreement. Only just.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Minors can not legally enter into contracts..... notarized or not.

  • 1 decade ago

    no legal weight and the notary should not have let him sign it.

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