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Arkansas Legal Ages Laws

The age of majority is 18 in nearly every U.S. state. The age of majority is the point when individuals are considered adults in the eyes of the law and subject to all associated rights and responsibilities.

State laws determine limits and rules for children under 18 who need access to certain legal processes. For instance, in most states, children as young as 16 who are able to prove they can live apart from their parents may independently seek to be "emancipated" from their parents. Emancipated minors have the legal rights and responsibilities of adults.

State laws also determine the age when a child can consent to certain medical treatments, enter into legal contracts, and sue in a court of law.

Legal Ages Under Arkansas Law

As in most states, the age of majority in Arkansas is 18. However, a child as young as 16 may petition a court for emancipation. Minors may file a lawsuit with the assistance of a next friend or guardian.

Additional provisions of Arkansas laws setting legal ages for minors are listed in the table below.

Age of Majority

  • Under §9-25-101, the age of majority is 18.

Eligibility for Emancipation

  • Under §9-26-104, a minor is eligible for emancipation as early as at the age of 16.
  • However, if a minor is involved in a neglect or dependency action, the minor must be at least 17 years of age, under §9-27-362.

Contracts by Minors

  • Under §9-26-101, a minor may cancel a contract only after full payments due under the agreement have been made.
  • Under the same statute, if property has been exchanged under a contract, a minor may cancel the contract only after returning the property to the original holder of the property.

Minors' Ability to Sue

  • A minor can sue through a next friend or guardian.
  • A next friend is a person authorized to act on the minor's behalf in court settings and legal processes, while a guardian may act in the same capacity.

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

  • Under §20-9-602, the following minors can consent to medical treatments:
    • A married minor
    • An emancipated minor
    • Any minor that is "sufficiently intelligent" to understand what consent means and how to consent
    • An incarcerated minor
  • Under the same statute, a minor that is also a parent can consent to medical treatment for their child. However, a minor cannot consent to an abortion when they are pregnant.

Note: State laws may change at any time, usually through the enactment of new statutes but sometimes through higher court decisions or by other means. Be sure to contact an Arkansas family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Getting Emancipated as a Minor in Arkansas

The relevant statute in Arkansas allows for the "removal of disability of a minor," or emancipation, for those 16 and older. But in order to qualify, you must be able to demonstrate the ability to care for yourself as an adult would. Examples of what a court will require that you demonstrate are that you can support yourself financially, that you are mature enough to live independently, and that it would be in your best interest.

As state laws are constantly changing, it's important to contact an attorney or conduct your own research to verify the laws of your state.

Research the Law

Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws in Arkansas, including those related to age:

  • At Arkansas Law, you'll find links to all laws in Arkansas, including those related to age.
  • At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Arkansas Legal Age Laws: Related Resources

Also consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws and legal issues related to age:

Need More Help? Talk to an Attorney Today

If you are under 18 and want to be emancipated or need other assistance with age laws, then you should talk to an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help you get started with the emancipation process or can give you assistance regarding your rights to sue or to consent to medical treatment.

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