Youths who are under the age of majority often want to know their rights under the law, and at what age they'll no longer be considered a minor in their state. In Kentucky, the simple answer is at 18 years old. However, additional rights come later, such as the right to buy alcohol or go to the bar at age 21. Also, there are some exceptions allowing minors to become “emancipated” or considered an adult before the age of 18.
The table below outlines the legal age laws in Kentucky.
|Age of Majority
||The age of majority in Kentucky is 18 years old. That’s when you’re officially considered adult, with the rights and responsibilities that come with that.
However, there are two exceptions where the age of majority doesn’t come until 21. First, you must be at least 21 years old to buy alcoholic beverages. Second, children with disabilities are able to receive certain care and treatment (like parental support and free appropriate public education) until 21 years old.
|Eligibility for Emancipation
||Although there’s no law specifying emancipation procedures in Kentucky, it’s still possible to become emancipated before 18. This can happen any of the following ways:
- Marriage – A child can marry before 18 and be considered a legal adult, this requires parental consent or a court order granting the marriage license
- Self-Support – Moving out of a parent’s home and becoming self-supporting will impliedly emancipate the child, if the parent doesn’t try to get the child back to the home
- Court Order – A minor can petition the court for emancipation and, possibly, be granted it by court order
|Contracts by Minors
||Minors can enter contracts for necessities, such as rent or mortgage, food, clothing, and medical care. Minors who are at least 15 years old can also contract for health, life, rental, or car insurance. Otherwise, the common law (prior cases) generally governs where the contract is voidable by the child.
Minors can borrow money from a state or national bank for higher educational purpose with parental consent. In addition, war veterans who obtain a benefit to borrow money for education, a mortgage, a car, etc. under a federal law can’t avoid repayment based on being a minor.
|Minors' Ability to Sue
||A minor can sue with the help of a guardian or “next friend” who sues for the minor. If married, the minor can sue on his or her own behalf because marriage is a legal status that generally emancipates a child.
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
||Minors of any age can consent to emergency care or treatment for pregnancy, drug or alcohol abuse, or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Also, minors 16 or older can consent to outpatient mental health treatment without parental consent. Emancipated minors may consent to any treatment because they are treated as adults.
If you’re interested in pursuing emancipation, you may need to hire an experienced Kentucky family law attorney to draft your emancipation petition and represent you in court.
Note: Because state laws change frequently, it’s important to confirm the accuracy of the laws you’re researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable attorney.
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Get Legal Help with Your Questions About Kentucky Legal Ages Laws
Many legal processes are restricted by age requirements, including the legal age for what constitutes a "minor" and the ability to become emancipated from one's parents. If you have questions about these age limits or any other aspect of a particular family law matter, it's in your best interest to contact a family law attorney in Kentucky.