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North Carolina Legal Ages Laws

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 North Carolina recognizes the age of majority as age 18. When a minor reaches age 18, they are considered an adult 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 North Carolina.

North Carolina Legal Age Laws: At a Glance

The following table highlights some of North Carolina's legal age laws. See Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics to learn more.

Age of Majority 18 (N.C.G.S. § 48A-2)
Eligibility for Emancipation
Contracts by Minors
  • Minors 16 or older may contract for the purchase of an automobile insurance policy with the consent of the court (N.C.G.S. § 48A-4)
  • At 17, minors may enter into a contract to finance higher education (N.C.G.S. § 116-174.1)
  • A contract entered into by a minor cannot be disaffirmed if the contract has been approved by the superior court in any county where the minor resides or is employed (N.C.G.S. § 48A-12)
Minors' Ability to Sue In actions or special proceedings where any of the plaintiffs are minors, a minor may sue through the representation of a guardian, testamentary guardian, or guardian ad litem (North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, Article 14, Rule 17(1))
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment Any minor may give consent for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of venereal diseases, pregnancy, abuse of controlled substances or alcohol, and emotional disturbance (N.C.G.S. § 90-21.5)
Legal Age for Alcohol, Tobacco, or E-cigarette Purchase and/or Consumption 21 (N.C.G.S. § 18B-300)

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.

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North Carolina Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources

Next Steps: Speak to a Skilled Attorney

It can sometimes be confusing when trying to determine whether a certain legal restriction or privilege applies to you due to your age, whether you're seeking emancipation or need advice about managing your money. Usually, your best option is to speak with an attorney. Find a North Carolina family law attorney near you today.

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