Montana, as do many other states, recognizes 18 years old as the "age of majority," at which point residents are legally considered adults (as opposed to "minors"). But Montana legal ages laws also govern a minor's eligibility for emancipation, the legal capacity for signing a contract or consenting to medical treatment. Also, the legal age for alcohol consumption in all states is 21.
Emancipation of Minors in Montana
Montana law allows for the emancipation of minors in certain circumstances. Any minor petitioning a Montana court for emancipation -- that is, being declared an adult in the eyes of the law -- must be a Montana resident, 16 years old and able to support and manage one's own affairs.
How To Get Emancipated
Only a judge can order that you are emancipated. To become emancipated formally, you have to prove ALL of these things:
You are at least 16 years old;
You want to live on your own;
You are responsible enough to live on your own, and understand your rights as an adult;
You can afford to live on your own;
Emancipation would be best for you; and
You have graduated or will graduate or get a GED, or have a very compelling reason to not be in school.
Minors and Lawsuits in Montana
When it comes to having the capacity to undertake certain legal actions, Montana law allows a minor to file a lawsuit to enforce his or her rights -- although a guardian must conduct the actual lawsuit for the minor.
The table below highlights some of the main provisions of Montana's legal ages laws. See Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics for related information.
|Age of Majority
|Eligibility for Emancipation
Occurs upon marriage (§40-6-234) or by judicial petition after reaching age 16 (§41-1-501)
|Contracts by Minors
Contracts may be disaffirmed within reasonable time after reaching 18, but necessities may not be disaffirmed (§41-1-301 et seq.)
|Minors' Ability to Sue
Through general guardian or guardian ad litem (§41-1-202)
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
Yes, if emancipated; separated from parents and self-supporting; pregnant; has a communicable disease; or addicted to alcohol or drugs; has had a child or graduated from high school; needs emergency care (§41-1-402)
Note: Montana laws are constantly changing--contact a Montana family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Montana Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources