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Indiana Legal Ages Laws

State laws dictate what age individuals must be to get married, enter contracts, take out student loans, or make other legal decisions. Those under the "age of majority," or minors, are considered incapable of making such decisions in the eyes of the law. The state of Indiana recognizes the age of majority as age 18. When a minor reaches age 18, they are considered an adult thereafter. State laws also govern a minor's ability to become emancipated from their parents or legal guardians, give consent for medical treatment, purchase and consume alcohol, and other legal matters.

This article provides a brief overview of the legal age statutes in the state of Indiana.

Indiana Age Statutes: At a Glance

The specifics of Indiana's legal age laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Emancipation of Minors section for additional articles and resources.

Age of Majority

18 (Ind. Code § 31-9-2-7)

Eligibility for Emancipation

If a minor files a petition, the court may grant emancipation after the guardian ad litem investigates the petition and finds emancipation is in the minor's best interests and the minor wishes to be free from parental control and protection, has sufficient money for the child's own support, understands the consequences of emancipation, and has an acceptable plan for independent living (Ind. Code § 31-34-20-6)

Contracts by Minors

  • Minors 16 or older may contract for life, accident, sickness insurance, and annuities (Ind. Code § 27-1-12-15)
  • Minors who have been partially emancipated may not avoid a contract (Ind. Code § 34-28-3-3)
  • A student who enters into a contract for student loans has full legal capacity to act in their own behalf and is subject to any obligation arising from the contract (Ind. Code § 21-16-3-1)

Minors' Ability to Sue

Minors may sue on their own name or through a next friend, guardian ad litem, or representative (Trial Proc. R. 17(c))

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

  • Minors may consent if emancipated, 14 years or older and living apart from parents, married, or in military service (Ind. Code § 1.6-36-1-3)
  • A person age 17 or older is eligible to volunteer to donate blood without permission from a parent or guardian (Ind. Code § 16-36-1-3)
  • A minor who is at least age 16 years of age and is pregnant, in labor, or postpartum for a 60 day period after birth, is competent to give consent for their medical or hospital care and treatment with respect to the pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care of the minor (Ind. Code § 6-36-1-3.5)

Legal Age for Alcohol, Tobacco or E-cigarette Purchase and/or Consumption

21 (Ind. Code § 7.1-5-7-7)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

There is a legal process by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law, referred to as the emancipation of a minor. While Indiana sets the standard age of majority at 18, emancipation can allow for a minor to be responsible for their own well-being and make all of their own decisions regarding school, healthcare, and other matters. Until they are emancipated or turn 18, juveniles normally will be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.

Learn More About Indiana Legal Ages Laws by Speaking to a Lawyer

There are certain age requirements and restrictions on access to alcohol, cigarettes, a driver's license, and the ability to vote -- among other things. Understanding the law and how it relates to your particular case is best left up to the professionals. If you'd like legal assistance with a family law or juvenile case, you can contact a family law attorney in your area.

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