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 New Hampshire recognizes the age of majority as age 18. When a minor reaches age 18, they are considered adults 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 New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Legal Age Laws: At a Glance
Additional provisions of New Hampshire laws setting legal ages for minors are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Emancipation of Minors section for additional articles and resources.
|Age of Majority
|18 (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 21-B:1)
|Eligibility for Emancipation
- A marriage is considered evidence of a minor's emancipation (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 21-B:3)
- A person who was emancipated in a different state is also considered emancipated once they relocate to New Hampshire (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 21-B:2)
- A person age 16 or older may petition the court for an order granting limited emancipation to them; limited emancipation may be granted if it is in the minor's best interest to be emancipated, as determined by the court (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 461-B:4 et seq.)
|Contracts by Minors
- The minor can join with their spouse in the release of homestead interests (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 460:4)
- Minors may contract to take out student loans (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 193.26)
|Minors' Ability to Sue
|A minor may sue if they have a representative, such as a next friend or court-appointed guardian ad litem; all petitions for approval of settlement actions on behalf of minors will be signed by the parent, next friend, or guardian of the minor (N.H. Civil Rule 40)
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- Minors age 12 or older may consent to drug treatment (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 318-B:12-a)
- Minors age 14 or older may voluntarily submit themselves to medical diagnosis and treatment of a sexually transmitted disease without the knowledge or consent of a parent or legal guardian (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 141-C:18)
|Legal Age for Alcohol, Tobacco, E-cigarette Purchase and/or Consumption
|21 (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 175:1)
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
New Hampshire Legal Age Laws: Related Resources
Next Steps: 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 New Hampshire 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 an experienced New Hampshire family law attorney.