A Novation refers to the replacement of an old contract with a new contract.
The substitution of a new contract for an old one. The new agreement extinguishes the rights and obligations that were in effect under the old agreement.
A novation ordinarily arises when a new individual assumes an obligation to pay that was incurred by the original party to the contract. It is distinguishable from the situation that occurs when another individual makes a guarantee that a debtor will pay what he or she owes to a creditor. In the case of a novation, the original debtor is totally released from the obligation, which is transferred to someone else. The nature of the transaction is dependent upon the agreement between the parties.
A novation also takes place when the original parties continue their obligation to one another, but a new agreement is substituted for the old one.
Duhaime Legal Dictionary
Substitute a new debt for an old debt, canceling the old debt.
The substitution by mutual agreement of one obligation for another with or without a change of parties and with the intent to extinguish the old obligation.
n. agreement of parties to a contract to substitute a new contract for the old one. It extinguishes (cancels) the old agreement. A novation is often used when the parties find that payments or performance cannot be made under the terms of the original agreement, or the debtor will be forced to default or go into bankruptcy unless the debt is restructured. While voluntary, a novation is often the only way any funds can be paid.
Lect Law Library
Novation is a substitution of a new for an old debt. The old debt is extinguished by the new one contracted in its stead; a novation may be made in three different ways which form three distinct kinds of novations.
The first takes place without the intervention of any new person, where a debtor contracts a new engagement with his creditor, in consideration of being liberated from the former. This kind has no appropriate name and is called a novation generally.
The second is that which takes place by the intervention of a new debtor, where another person becomes a debtor instead of a former debtor, and is accepted by the creditor, who thereupon discharges the first debtor. The person thus rendering himself debtor for another, who is in consequence discharged, is called expromissor; and this kind of novation is caned expromissio.
The third kind of novation takes place by the intervention of a new creditor where a debtor, for the purpose of being discharged from his original creditor, by order of that creditor, contracts some obligation in favor of a new creditor. There is also a particular kind of novation called a delegation.
Novation is a term used in contract law and business law to describe the act of either replacing an obligation to perform with a new obligation, or replacing a party to an agreement with a new party. In contrast to an assignment, which is valid so long as the obligee (person receiving the benefit of the bargain) is given notice, a novation is valid only with the consent of all parties to the original agreement: the obligee must consent to the replacement of the original obligor with the new obligor. A contract transferred by the novation process transfers all duties and obligations from the original obligor to the new obligor.
For example, if there exists a contract where Dan will give a TV to Alex, and another contract where Alex will give a TV to Becky, then, it is possible to novate both contracts and replace them with a single contract wherein Dan agrees to give a TV to Becky. Contrary to assignment, novation requires the consent of all parties. Consideration is still required for the new contract, but it is usually assumed to be the discharge of the former contract. Another classic example is where Company A enters a contract with Company B and a novation is included to ensure that if Company B sells or merges transfers the core of their business to another company, the new company assumes the obligations and liabilities that Company B has with Company A under the contract. So in terms of the contract, a purchaser, merging party or transferee of Company B 'steps into the shoes' of Company B with respect to its obligations to Company A.
The criteria for novation comprise the obligee's acceptance of the new obligor, the new obligor's acceptance of the liability, and the old obligor's acceptance of the new contract as full performance of the old contract.