Make Sure Your Contract is the Kind That Can Be Court Approved

The 1st kind of contract is one that employs a minor to perform artistic or creative services, like as an actor/actress, dancer, musician, comedian, singer, stunt-person, voice-over artist, songwriter, musical producer or arranger, writer, director, producer, production executive, choreographer, composer, conductor, or designer. The 2nd kind is one in which a minor agrees to buy, sell or license some literary, musical, or dramatic property, or use someone's likeness, voice, performance, or life story in a film, TV, sound recordings, or the stage. The 3rd kind is one hiring the minor to play a sport. These 1st 3 kinds of contracts are provided for in Family Code 6750. The 4th kind is a when a licensed talent agency wants to sign a minor, which is covered by Labor Code 1700.37.


Your Contract Should be Signed by the Minor and Their Parent (or Guardian) and Your Petition Should Include "Coogan" Language

Make sure your contract is signed by the minor and one of their parents, or their legal guardian, if they have one. Your Petition to the Court for Approval of the Contract Should Include "Coogan" provisions. This law, named after Jackie Coogan, was written to protect a minor from their parents stealing their money, like Coogan's parents did. It requires whoever hires the minor to set aside 15% of the minor's gross earnings and keep in in trust, in an account or other savings plan, and preserved for the minor's benefit.


File Your Petition and Proposed Order With the Court

In Los Angeles County, you also need a Civil Case Cover Sheet specifying that you are seeking court approval of a minor's contract, and you must pay the Petition filing fee to the court. Attach a copy of your contract you want approved to your Petition. Your Proposed Order should track the language in your Petition, so the judge will order just what you've asked for. The process takes about 2 months.