Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
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- A benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain. In order to be valid, a contract must be founded on an exchange of one form of consideration for another. Consideration may be a promise to perform a certain act -- for example, a promise to fix a leaky roof in return for a payment of $1,000 -- or a promise not to do something, such as build a second story on a house that will block the neighbor's view (in return for money or something else). Whatever its particulars, consideration must be something of value to the people who are making the contract, even if the value is very low. Acts which are illegal or so immoral that they are against established public policy cannot serve as consideration. Examples include prostitution, gambling where it's outlawed, hiring someone to break a skater's knee, or paying someone to breach another agreement (back out of a promise).