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Illinois Legal Ages Laws

In most states, including Illinois, the age of majority is 18. At this age, a minor is legally recognized as an adult. Prior to that age and after it, laws in all states dictate certain rights and responsibilities for minors and adults. Here is a brief summary of these legal age laws in Illinois.

Age of Majority in Illinois

Children become adults in the eyes of the law at 18 in most states, including Illinois. Legal age laws also determine when a child may apply for emancipation from their parents, enter into contracts, file lawsuits, and consent to medical treatment.

Illinois Age Statutes

Each state may have different age laws and limits. Learn more about Illinois' legal age laws in the following table.

Age of Majority

Under 5/13-211, the age of majority is 18.

Eligibility for Emancipation

  • Under §750 ILCS 30/1, minors between 16 and 18 may apply for emancipation.
  • At a hearing, a court will determine if the minor satisfies the requirements for emancipation. The court will determine if the minor exhibits adequate levels of maturity and if emancipation is in the minor's best interest.

Contracts by Minors

  • Under 5/242 of the Illinois Insurance Code, minors 15 or older can enter into contracts for insurance.
  • Under § 5/369, a minor 15 or older cannot cancel or void a contract on the grounds that they entered any given contract prior to their reaching the age of majority.
  • Under the same statute, minors 15 or older can exercise the same rights and privileges anyone at or over the age of majority can with respect to contracts.

Minors' Ability to Sue

Under §735 ILCS 5/13-211, a guardian ad litem must be appointed to assist a minor in filing a lawsuit within two years of the minor turning 18.

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

  • Under §210/4, a physician may treat a minor 12 or older for sexually transmitted diseases without seeking the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Under the same statute, a minor 12 or older may also consent to treatment for substance abuse problems without the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Under 210/2, a minor who is also a parent may consent to medical treatments for their child.
  • Under 210/3, the following circumstances also do not require the consent of a parent or guardian:
  1. Where consent is not possible, and
  2. Where the minor is the victim of a sexual offense.
  • Under 210/1.5, a minor's consent will be considered valid under the following circumstances:
  1. When a healthcare professional believes that the minor understands what consent is and what it entails, and
  2. When an adult relative, homeless service agency representative, attorney licensed in Illinois, public school homeless liaison, school social worker, social service agency, or representative from a religious organization indicates in writing that a minor is seeking medical care.
  • Under 210/1, a minor can also consent to medical care if they are married.
  • Under the same statute, they can also consent to medical care on behalf of their child, if they are also a parent.

Age limits for voting, marrying, consuming alcohol, and other activities can vary from state-to-state. For example, while anyone under 21 cannot legally drink, they may still be old enough to file a lawsuit prior to reaching the age of majority. Generally speaking, these differences reflect societal and community values regarding minors' capacity for holding responsibilities and their decision-making abilities.

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

While Illinois sets the default age of majority at 18, there is a legal process by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law. The emancipation of a minor allows them to be responsible for their own wellbeing and make all of their own major decisions regarding healthcare, school, and other matters. Until they turn 18 or they are emancipated, juveniles will generally be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.

Additional Resources for Legal Age Laws

State laws can change frequently. You can visit FindLaw's family law section to continue your own research.

Find a Local Family Law Attorney for Your Legal Needs

There are several age-related rules and restrictions in most state laws. They are often used to protect minors, but your particular situation may be more complicated and require professional legal help. You may want to contact an experienced family law attorney in Illinois to best understand your rights and responsibilities.

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