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 Dakota 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 Dakota.
South Dakota Legal Age Laws: At a Glance
The following table provides a summary of South Dakota's legal age laws. See FindLaw's Emancipation of Minors section for additional articles and resources.
|Age of Majority
||18 years (S.D.C.L. § 26-1-1)
|Eligibility for Emancipation
- Minors may become automatically emancipated if they get married, is on active duty with any of the armed forces of the United States, or has a declaration of emancipation pursuant (S.D.C.L. § 25-5-24)
- A minor that is at least 16 years old may petition the court for emancipation if they willingly live separate and apart from their parents or guardians, are managing their own financial affairs, and the source of their income is not derived from any crime (S.D.C.L. § 25-5-26)
|Contracts by Minors
- No minor may give a delegation of power, nor make a contract relating to real property, or any interest related to real property, or relating to any personal property, not in their immediate possession or control (S.D.C.L. § 26-2-1)
- A minor may make any other contract (S.D.C.L. § 26-2-3)
- A minor cannot disaffirm a contract, otherwise valid, to pay the reasonable value of things necessary for their support or their family's support (S.D.C.L. § 26-2-4)
- The contract of a minor, if made while under the age of 16, may be disaffirmed by the minor themself either before reaching the age of majority or within a year afterward (S.D.C.L. § 26-2-6)
- A minor has the full legal capacity to take out student loans (S.D.C.L. § 13-56-4)
|Minors' Ability to Sue
- Minors can sue through a parent, guardian, conservator, or guardian ad litem (S.D.C.L. § 15-6-17(c))
- Any minor entitled to action may commence an action after "removal of disability," meaning after they reach the age of majority (S.D.C.L. § 15-3-14)
|Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- Minors can consent to treatment for venereal diseases (S.D.C.L. § 34-23-16)
- A minor may be treated without consent from a parent or guardian if delaying treatment would threaten the minor's life or health; however, this does not apply to an elective abortion or to sterilization, or to any device or medication for the control of birth (S.D.C.L. § 20-9-4.2)
- If a person suffering from alcohol or drug abuse is a minor or an incompetent person, a parent, guardian, or another legal representative may make an application to an accredited facility for voluntary treatment (S.D.C.L. § 34-20A-50)
- Treatment of a minor for a venereal disease shall be offered to a minor upon the minor's request without the necessity of consent of parents or notification to the parents (S.D.C.L. § 34-23-17)
|Legal Age for Alcohol and Tobacco/E-cigarette Purchase and/or Consumption
||21 (S.D.C.L. § 35-9-2)
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.
South Dakota Ages Laws: Related Resources
Next Steps: Speak with a Skilled Lawyer
Questions concerning minors, parents, and the law can be complex. You can find more information about family law and parental rights and liability on these pages. If you or someone you know has a specific family law concern, consider contacting a family law attorney. A family law attorney can review your case and provide specific legal advice tailored to your situation.