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 ages laws, for instance, establish an "age of majority" of 18 at which an individual is legally considered an adult. Minors in New York may consent to medical treatment if they are married, a parent of a child patient, or in an emergency.
While New York does not provide a formal procedure for the emancipation of minors, the court may grant a minor's request for emancipation in some rare instances. Generally, a New York court may consider a minor emancipated if he or she is:
- At least 16;
- Living separately from the parents;
- Not relying on parents for living expenses; and
- Able to manage his or her financial affairs.
This chart provides the basics of New York legal age laws. See, How Long Do Parents' Legal Obligations to Their Children Continue? to learn more.
|Age of Majority
||18 (Dom. Rel. §2)
|Eligibility for Emancipation
|Contracts by Minors
||May disaffirm most contracts if disaffirmed within reasonable time after reaching majority; exceptions: (1). certain loans; (2). married infant buying home; (3). providing medical care for self/child; (4). for performing athletic or arts services if court-approved; (5). life insurance if 15 or over; (6). or if veteran or veteran's spouse (Gen. Oblig. §§3-101, et seq.)
|Minors' Ability to Sue
||Through guardian or parent, adult spouse, guardian ad litem appointed by court or by infant if over 14 (Civ. Prac. L. & R. §1201)
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
||If married, parent, pregnant, or in an emergency (Pub. He. §2504)
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.
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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 at FindLaw's lawyer directory.