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Rhode Island Legal Ages Laws

When you reach the age of majority, you are legally considered an adult. With this age set at 18 in most states, reaching the age of majority means you assume the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood. Examples of privileges included within being over the age of majority are the ability to vote and enter into a contract.

In some limited situations, a minor may be declared a legal adult by the court through a process known as "emancipation." In order to be emancipated, children must have a place to live, a source of legal income, and the maturity required to live independently. However, not all states provide a clear process for emancipation.

But since minors still need to be able to act on their own from time to time -- such as consenting to certain medical procedures -- state legal age laws provide additional rules. For example, a minor may consent to drug or alcohol treatment without a parent's oversight in most states. Access to birth control or abortion, however, varies quite a bit from one state to the next.

Rhode Island Legal Age Laws at a Glance

Rhode Island does not provide an administrative process for emancipation, but minors seeking emancipation may petition the court. Those who become emancipated in Rhode Island are treated as adults in a lot of ways, although drinking alcohol is something only someone 21 years of age or older can do. In addition, in Rhode Island, only someone that is 18 years of age or older may serve on a jury.

Additional provisions of Rhode Island laws setting legal ages for minors are listed in the following table.

Age of Majority

Under §15-12-1, the age of majority is 18.

Eligibility for Emancipation

No statute in Rhode Island explicitly and exclusively addresses the process of emancipation.

Contracts by Minors

Under common law in the state, contracts are voidable by minors except for necessaries.

Minors' Ability to Sue

Under section (c) of part 17 of the Rhode Island Rules of Civil Procedure, a minor can file a lawsuit through a next friend, representative, or guardian ad litem.

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

Under §23-4.6-1, a minor can consent to medical treatments under the following circumstances:
  • If they are married, or
  • If they are 16 years of age or older.

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, higher court decisions, and other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you may also want to contact a Rhode Island family law 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 Rhode Island, 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 laws and legal issues related to age:

Need More Help? Contact an Attorney

If you're thinking about trying to go through emancipation or are a minor that is confused by what you can and can't do under the laws of Rhode Island, it's advised that you contact a qualified family law attorney near you. They can help you understand the laws of the state concerning age. They can also help you if you're in the middle of any legal proceeding related to age.

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