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 South 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 South Carolina.
South Carolina Legal Ages Laws: At a Glance
The following table explains the main legal age laws for minors in South Carolina.
|Age of Majority
||18 (S.C. Code Ann. § 15-1-320)
|Eligibility for Emancipation
||South Carolina doesn't have an emancipation statute that delineates an emancipation process.
|Contracts by Minors
- A minor can't be required to pay for debts contracted for when they were still a minor unless a promise to pay back the debt was made in writing and signed by the party after they became the age of majority; however, for necessaries (food, shelter, and clothing), a minor can be required to pay back the debt (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-310)
- Minors have the full legal capacity to take out student loans (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-320)
|Minors' Ability to Sue
||A minor or mentally incompetent person can sue through a legal representative (guardian or fiduciary) or through a “next friend" or guardian ad litem (who can be appointed by the court)
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- If a minor is married, they are able to give consent for any medical, surgical, or dental procedures as if they were the age of majority (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-330)
- Minors 16 or older may consent to any health services rendered on themself and no other consent is necessary (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-340)
- Health services of any kind can be rendered to minors of any age without the consent of a parent or legal guardian when, in the judgment of a health professional, such services are deemed necessary or essential to the health or life of the child (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-350)
|Legal Age for Alcohol and Tobacco/E-cigarette Purchase and/or Consumption
||21 (S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-90)
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.
Research the Law
South Carolina Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources
Talk to a South Carolina Attorney About Legal Ages Laws
Are you concerned with how the legal age laws affect you? If you need assistance with an emancipation petition or a request to stop child support due to the emancipation of your child, then talk to a South Carolina family law attorney. An experienced attorney can help you with these procedures and can help clarify legal age law issues.