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Maine 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 Maine 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 Maine.

Maine Legal Ages Laws: At a Glance

The chart below lists and briefly explains some of Maine's basic legal age laws. See FindLaw's Emancipation of Minors section for additional articles and resources.

Age of Majority

18 (1 M.R.S.A. § 73)

Eligibility for Emancipation

You can petition for emancipation if you're at least 16 years old. The Maine District Court will assign a lawyer to represent you for free in this process (15 M.R.S.A. § 3506-A)

Contracts by Minors

  • Minors can't be held responsible for contracts they entered into unless the minor or an authorized person ratifies it at or after the age of 18 (33 M.R.S.A. § 52)
  • However, a minor will owe for any necessaries, such as food, shelter, or clothing, as well as any real estate they have title to and receives its benefit (33 M.R.S.A. § 52)
  • Also, if a minor enters a contract for student loans for higher education, then the contract is valid (33 M.R.S.A. § 52)

Minors' Ability to Sue

Under Maine Rules of Civil Procedure 17(b), minors and incapacitated adults must sue and defend themselves through a guardian, conservator, parent, “next friend," or guardian ad litem

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

Minors can consent to all medical, mental health, dental, or other health services if they are married, emancipated, in the military, or living apart from their parents. The minor will be financially responsible for the costs of care. Otherwise, minors may consent to substance abuse and mental health treatment, as well as consent to a sexual assault forensic examination. At 17 years old, minors can consent to donate blood. (22 M.R.S.A. § 1502-A)

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

21 (22 M.R.S.A. § 1555-B and 28-A M.R.S.A. § 2051)

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.

Research the Law

Maine Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources

Next Step: Speak with a Skilled Lawyer

Whether you are looking to file a lawsuit, get emancipated, or get certain types of healthcare, you'll want to know the law in Maine and how it may impact your ability to do any of those things. To learn more about the rights and obligations you have as both a young person and an adult, you should speak with a Maine family law attorney.

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