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Michigan Legal Ages Laws

In most states, the age of majority is 18. This is the age when people are legally recognized as adults. In Michigan, the age of majority is also 18. However, by emancipation, minors may also be legally recognized as adults earlier than this age. In each state, there are different ages when a minor can legally engage in certain activities. This article is a quick summary of legal age laws in Michigan.

Age of Majority in Michigan

The "age of majority" -- the age at which an individual is legally considered an adult -- is 18 in most states, including Michigan. For those younger than 18, legal age laws dictate certain rights and responsibilities for minors. For instance, as is the case in most states, minors can't purchase or drink alcohol. However, in many states, including Michigan, a child 16 or older may be emancipated by judicial order.

Michigan Age Statutes

The following chart highlights the basics of Michigan legal age laws.

Age of Majority

Under 722.1(a), the age of majority is 18.

Eligibility for Emancipation

  • Under 722.4 et seq., a minor is eligible for emancipation through marriage, if they are enlisted in the military, or or if they are 16 or older.
  • A minor may do so by petitioning a court.

Contracts by Minors

Under 600.1403, a minor may enter into contracts for insurance.

Minors' Ability to Sue

  • Under the Rules of Civil Procedure in Michigan (2.201(E)), a minor may file lawsuits with the assistance of a conservator.
  • If a conservator does not exist, a court may appoint a representative for the minor. This person is known as a "next friend."
  • If the minor is a defendant in a lawsuit, a conservator may act on their behalf. If a conservator does not exist, a court will appoint a guardian ad litem.
  • The minor must consent to the appointment of any individual that a court places in the position of next friend or guardian ad litem.

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

  • Under §333.9132, a minor can consent to pregnancy-related treatments.
  • Under §333.5127, a minor can consent to treatments for HIV or sexually transmitted diseases or infections, as well as those related to substance abuse.

Each state can have its own age limits for voting, marrying, and consuming alcohol. Most of the time, these differences reflect community and societal values regarding minors' decision-making abilities and capacity for holding responsibilities. For example, a minor as young as 14 can file a lawsuit with the assistance of a guardian. However, that same minor can't drink until they have reached the age or 21 or vote until they have reached the age of 18.

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

The emancipation of a minor refers to a legal process by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law. While Michigan sets the default age of majority at 18, emancipation can allow a minor to be responsible for their own wellbeing and make all 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.

Learn More About Michigan Legal Ages Laws

State laws, including those related to family law, are always subject to changes. If you want to know more about emancipation or other related legal topics in Michigan, you should contact a local family law attorney who is knowledgeable about the current state of the law.

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