ContractsCounsel Logo
Home Types of Contracts Novation Agreement

Novation Agreement: Purpose and Examples

Jump to Section

What is a Novation Agreement?

A novation agreement is a legal contract that transfers contractual obligations of one party to a third party. It can also replace a contractual obligation with another one. Either way, the new obligation must be agreed upon by all parties involved. Generally, a transferee, transferor and counterparty, must agree to these changes.

Novation Explained

Novation is used in contract law and business law which defines the act of:

  • Replacing an obligation with another obligation
  • Adding an obligation to perform
  • Replacing a party with another in an agreement.

There are three main ways to make a novation:

  1. Novation: A simple novation doesn’t involve entry of a third party. Instead, someone who owes debt enters in a new agreement with their lender. Basically, you substitute a new contract in place of the old one.
  2. Expromissio: Expromissio involves entry of a third party on to an agreement. This new party takes on obligations of the original party. Usually, a creditor accepts a new debtor in place of the original debtor.
  3. Delegation: In this case, the party to a contract transfers their responsibility to another party. For example, you hire a general contractor to perform work on your house. The general contract delegates their responsibilities to a subcontractor. The subcontractor now has a duty to you to complete the work.

Novation vs Assignment:

Novation in contract and business law is different from assignment.

Assignment is generally valid as long as the party is provided notice whereas a novation requires agreement of all parties. An assignment only passes along benefits. whereas a novation transfers both benefits and obligations. For instance, a sublease is an assignment. The landlord can still hold the primary renter responsible. In a novation, the primary party of the contract would also transfer all obligations and cannot be held accountable for the contract after novation is complete.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both a novation and an assignment. Assignment is often more convenient than a novation. Novation can protect sellers from future liabilities despite being a tedious process.

Want to learn more about novation? Here is an article on novation for you.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Sarah S.

35 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Danny J.

13 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Michael M.

614 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Daehoon P.

203 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Purpose of a Novation Agreement

Novation is used when a third party enters an agreement to replace a departing party in a contract. Usually, a new party would assume obligations to pay another party that the original party had intended to pay. This releases the debt from one party to another. There would generally be three parties involved: a transferee, transferor and the counterparty. All parties must sign the agreement.

Cancelling a contract can be messy and expensive. In such cases, one might find novation to be a better option. Through novation one party can simply find a third party to complete an original agreement. A few examples where a novation can be used are leases, transferring debt, real estate transactions, business deals, and construction projects.

There are certain risks of a novation. If the counterparty is unsure that the new party will be able to adequately complete obligations set under the contract, the counterparty might face consequences in the future but will not be able to hold the primary party accountable after novation.

Still not sure about the purpose of novation? Here is an article for you.

Examples of Novation

A few examples of novation can help you understand the process better. For instance, consider this case. Person A owes Person B $100. Person B already owes Person C $100. In this case, Person A and Person B can simply transfer their debt obligations through a novation. If all parties agree, Person A can just pay Person C $100. Person B will receive and pay no amount.

Novation can also allow for modified payment terms if all parties agree. Take the case of Person A, B and C mentioned above. Person C might agree to accept Person A’s jewelry as payment which has a value of $100–the debt amount. This transfer of jewelry can still constitute as repayment and resolution of all debt between the three parties.

Novation in mergers and acquisitions is common. A classic example is when a company, X, enters into a contract with another Company, Y. A novation can be included to ensure that if company Y sells, merges or transfers their business or parts of their business to another company, the new company that merges with or acquires company Y or parts of it, will assume obligations and liabilities of company Y in the contract with Company X. In this contract, a purchaser, merging party or transferee of Company Y will step into the role of Company Y in respect to their contract with Company X.

Novation is also used in financial markets. A bilateral transaction done through a clearinghouse intermediary in the derivatives markets is called novation. Here, sellers transfer securities to the intermediary or the clearinghouse which then sells the securities to buyers. The clearinghouse assumes the obligations and counterparty risk in case of a party defaulting. The clearinghouse also becomes responsible for vetting buyers based on creditworthiness.

Here is an article with more examples of novation.

ContractsCounsel Novation Agreement Image

Image via Pexels by Pixabay

Who Should Sign a Novation Agreement?

A novation must be signed by all parties involved–the transferee, transferor and counterparty. The transferor transfers the obligations to the transferee in an agreement with the counterparty. One might consider signing a novation agreement in the following scenarios:

  • Unable to repay debt: If party A borrows money from party B, but is unable to repay the debt and has a third party, C, come in an offer to repay the debt, all parties can consider novation. Here party A would transfer all debt obligations to party C and walk away. Party B will receive the debt from Party C instead of Party A. In case of default, Party B will not be able to hold party A responsible.
  • Takeover transactions: In business transactions or corporate takeover, novation can be used to replace parties as per new takeover roles.
  • Sale of business: Novation during sale of a business is often used to replace or transfer business obligations between parties.
  • Financial Markets: Novation allows derivatives market to use bilateral transactions through an intermediary.

If you are looking to draw up a novation agreement, here is an example of a novation agreement.

Get Help with a Novation Agreement

Do you have any questions about novation agreements and want to speak to an expert? Post a project today on ContractsCounsel and receive bids from contract lawyers who specialize in contracts.


ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Novation Agreement Lawyers

Faryal A. on ContractsCounsel
View Faryal
4.8 (118)
Member Since:
February 23, 2023

Faryal A.

Attorney/Counsel
Free Consultation
Houston
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Houston

Ms. Ayub is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas. Before moving to the US, she has a number of years of experience in contract review, analysis and drafting. Ms. Ayub is available to help you with your legal problems, as well as filling LLC and other business entity formation documents. To know more about her practice, please visit https://ayublawfirmpllc.com/.

Jane C. on ContractsCounsel
View Jane
4.9 (87)
Member Since:
October 9, 2020
Jason H. on ContractsCounsel
View Jason
4.9 (16)
Member Since:
March 5, 2023

Jason H.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Dallas, Texas
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX, VA
Regent University, School of Law

Jason has been providing legal insight and business expertise since 2001. He is admitted to both the Virginia Bar and the Texas State Bar, and also proud of his membership to the Fellowship of Ministers and Churches. Having served many people, companies and organizations with legal and business needs, his peers and clients know him to be a high-performing and skilled attorney who genuinely cares about his clients. In addition to being a trusted legal advisor, he is a keen business advisor for executive leadership and senior leadership teams on corporate legal and regulatory matters. His personal mission is to take a genuine interest in his clients, and serve as a primary resource to them.

Richard M. on ContractsCounsel
View Richard
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
January 19, 2024

Richard M.

Tax Attorney
Free Consultation
San Diego, California
25 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
UCLA School of Law

Richard A. Mathurin is as a member of the professional team at Sage Law. Since graduating cum Laude from The University of Notre Dame and UCLA School of Law, Rich has enjoyed an exciting and diversified career in the practice of law. In his early career, he assisted several energy companies all over the world in the development and funding of major wind energy and other green technology projects. Following an assignment by his firm to their Far East offices in Tokyo and Singapore, Rich represented global corporations such as Hitachi, UPS, and Fuji-Xerox in major commercial transactions. More recently, Rich returned to his native San Diego to care for an ill family member and work in the local community. Rich specializes in tax resolution, bankruptcy and small business services helping clients get in compliance with complex tax laws and manage their personal and business finances. When he is not working servicing his valued clients, Rich is an ardent golfer and enjoys rooting for his favorite Boston sports teams.

Ernestas P. on ContractsCounsel
View Ernestas
Member Since:
January 21, 2024

Ernestas P.

Attorney
Free Consultation
New York, New York
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in NY
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

I am a broadly skilled legal professional. I am highly drawn to technology, fintech, intellectual property, privacy law, contracts. I am also experienced in business litigation and business transactions. I have been told to have the following skills perfect time management, critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, communication and decision making. As a former flight attendant, I am well versed and acquired many of those skills in a fast faced multicultural/multilingual setting. I am able to work solo or as a team member and quickly adapt to changes. Finally, I am fluent in English, Lithuanian, Russian.

Scott B. on ContractsCounsel
View Scott
Member Since:
January 26, 2024

Scott B.

Partner
Free Consultation
Los Angeles, CA
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in CA
Purdue Global Law School

Scott Bowen, Esq brings legal experience in family law, special education law, and healthcare law matters. Scott also has over 20 years of expertise in healthcare compliance, medical coding, and healthcare consulting to the firm.

Damian T. on ContractsCounsel
View Damian
Member Since:
January 29, 2024

Damian T.

Founding Partner
Free Consultation
Albuquerque, NM
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NM
New York University School of Law

Damian is a founding partner of Holon Law Partners. He began his career as an officer in the Marine Corps, managing legal affairs for his command in Okinawa, Japan. In this role, he conducted investigations, assembled juries for courts martial, and advised his commander on criminal justice matters. Damian was twice selected to serve as his unit’s liaison to the Japanese government and self-defense forces. Damian later worked as a transactional attorney in New York, where he handled commercial real estate, finance, and restructuring matters. He has also participated in insider trading investigations at the SEC, worked on compliance at a private equity firm, and managed legal operations and special projects at a vertically integrated cannabis company in New Mexico. Damian draws on these diverse experiences to provide his clients with creative solutions to thorny legal issues – from negotiating commercial leases to managing complex securities offerings. In addition to practicing law, Damian volunteers as a research assistant at the University of New Mexico Medical School’s McCormick Lab – studying the microbiology of longevity and aging. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his two pit bulls and pursuing his passions for foreign languages, art, philosophy, and fitness. Damian resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Business lawyers by top cities
See All Business Lawyers
Novation Agreement lawyers by city
See All Novation Agreement Lawyers

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Draft New Novation Contract for Real Estate
Location: Florida
Turnaround: Less than a week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Novation Agreement
Number of Bids: 2
Bid Range: $750 - $1,500

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Novation agreement for DBA
Location: New York
Turnaround: Less than a week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Novation Agreement
Number of Bids: 5
Bid Range: $189 - $1,500

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city