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 Maryland 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 Maryland.
Maryland Age Statutes: At a Glance
Legal ages in Maryland are highlighted in the chart below. See FindLaw's Emancipation of Minors section for additional articles and resources.
Age of Majority
18 (Md. Code § 1-401)
Eligibility for Emancipation
Contracts by Minors
- A minor with a spouse is authorized to join with the spouse in any deed of real property (M.D. Est. & Trusts Code § 13-503)
- A war veteran or member of the armed services who is a minor is eligible for benefits under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 and may mortgage real estate, buy real estate, execute a deed, and make other agreements (M.D. Est. & Trusts Code § 13-503)
- A minor who is at least 15 years old may contract for annuities and for life or health insurance on the minor's own life or body, or on the person of whom the minor has an insurance interest, may surrender any interest in the contract and give a valid discharge for any benefit, but is not entitled to rescind, avoid, or repudiate the contract and is not bound by any unperformed agreement to pay (M.D. Est. & Trusts Code § 13-503)
- If an estate of a minor is being administered by a guardian, no contract is binding on the estate without the consent of the guardian (M.D. Est. & Trusts Code § 13-503)
Minors' Ability to Sue
By guardian, next friend, or parent (Md. R. Civ. P. Cir. Ct. 2-202)
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- A minor has the same capacity as an adult to consent to medical or dental treatment if the minor is married, the parent of a child, or is emancipated, or if the life or health of the minor would be affected adversely by delaying treatment to obtain the consent from another person (Md. Code § 20-102)
- A minor has the same capacity as an adult to consent to treatment for drug abuse, alcoholism, venereal disease, pregnancy, sterilization, alleged rape or sexual offense, or HIV (Md. Code § 20-102)
- A minor who is 12 years old or older who is determined by a healthcare provider to be mature and capable of giving informed consent has the same capacity as an adult to consent to consultation, diagnosis, and treatment of a mental or emotional disorder by the healthcare provider or clinic (Health Gen. Art. 20 § 104)
Legal Age for Alcohol and Tobacco/E-cigarette Purchase and/or Consumption
|21 (Md. Code § 1-101 and Md. Code, Crim. Law § 10-108)
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.
Georgia Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources
Questions About Legal Ages Laws? Talk to a Maryland Attorney
Although we know that the typical age of majority is 18, the Maryland age laws give us clarification about minors' rights in areas such as emancipation, marriage, and health care consent. If you are a minor interested in understanding how to get emancipation, married, or need assistance with medical consent or the right to sue, then you should talk to a local family law attorney in Maryland.