An Overview of State Legal Age Laws
States differentiate between adults and minors with respect to legal capacity. This means that the law cannot assign legal responsibility to an individual who lacks the mental capacity or maturity to fully understand the consequences of their actions. This often arises when a child commits a serious crime and prosecutors must decide whether to charge the child as an adult. It also applies to everyday situations that require the consent of a parent, such as most contractual agreements.
New York Legal Age Laws at a Glance
People mature at different ages, but states must draw the line somewhere. New York's legal age laws, for example, establish an "age of majority" of 18. At the age of majority, an individual is legally considered an adult. Minors in New York may consent to medical treatment if they are married, the parent of a patient that is also a child, or in cases of emergency.
This chart provides the basics of New York legal age laws. To learn more, consider reviewing FindLaw's "How Long Do Parents' Legal Obligations to Their Children Continue?"
|Age of Majority
||Under relevant law, the age of majority is 18.
|Eligibility for Emancipation
||The qualifications for eligibility for emancipation are not specified by a statute.
|Contracts by Minors
- Under § 681, a minor may take out student loans.
- Under § 3207, a minor may enter into contracts for life insurance, if they are 15 years of age or older.
- Under § 3-101, contracts may not be voided under certain circumstances on grounds that a minor entered into a contract prior to their reaching the age of majority. For more information, consider reviewing the statute linked immediately above.
|Minors' Ability to Sue
- Under § 1201, a minor may file a lawsuit through a guardian or parent, adult spouse, or guardian ad litem appointed by a court.
- Under the same statute, a minor may file a lawsuit without the assistance of such entities if they are also over 14 years of age.
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- Under § 2504, a minor may consent to all medical treatments if they are married. Under the same statute, they may consent to pregnancy-related medical treatments. If they are a parent, the minor may consent to medical treatments on behalf of their child. In cases of emergency, minors may also consent to medical treatments.
- Under § 2305, a doctor may treat a minor for sexually transmitted diseases without first seeking the consent of a parent or guardian.
- Under § 33.21, a minor may consent to mental health treatments without the consent of a parent or guardian, under many circumstances. For example, if the minor is able to indicate they are capable of understanding what consent means and what it entails, a doctor is authorized to provide mental healthcare service without the consent of anyone other than the minor. For more information, consider reviewing the statute linked immediately above.
Note: State laws are constantly changing. Contact a New York attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws in New York, including those related to age:
- At New York Code, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to age.
- At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Related Resources for Legal Age Laws
Consider reviewing the following resources as well for more information about legal issues and laws related to age:
Get Legal Help with Your New York Legal Age Concerns
Each state has its own age-related laws pertaining to marriage, consent, emancipation from one's parents, and other legal processes. If you are unsure about any of New York's age-related laws or need legal counsel, you can find a New York family law attorney near you.