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 Virginia recognizes the age of majority as age 18. When a minor reaches age 18, they are considered an adult in the state thereafter. State laws also govern a minor's ability to become emancipated from their parents or legal guardians, give consent for medical treatment, and other legal matters.
This article provides a brief overview of legal age statutes in the state of Virginia.
Virginia Age Statutes: At a Glance
Virginia's legal age laws are summarized in the following chart. See FindLaw's Emancipation of Minors section for additional articles and resources.
Age of Majority
18 (Va. Code § 1-203)
Eligibility for Emancipation
By judicial petition at age 16 (Va. Code § 16.1-331 et seq.)
Contracts by Minors
- Voidable subject to making restitution when possible with various exceptions for necessities (common law)
- Minors may take out loans for the purpose of higher education (Va. Code § 8.01-278(B))
- A minor who is at least 15 years old may contract for life insurance for their own benefit or for the benefit of their kindred, spouse, brothers, or sisters (Va. Code § 38.2-3105)
Minors' Ability to Sue
Minors may sue with the help of their parent or next friend or are represented by a guardian ad litem (Va. Code § 8.01-8)
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
- Minors may consent to treatment for venereal disease, birth control, pregnancy, substance abuse, or mental illness; married minors may consent to any treatment (Va. Code § 54.1-2969 (E))
- Medical professionals may perform a physical evidence recovery kit examination for a person who is believed to be a victim of a sexual assault (Va. Code § 54.1-2970.1)
Legal Age for Alcohol, Tobacco, E-cigarette, Marijuana Purchase and/or Consumption
|21 (Va. Code § 4.1-305(C))
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.
Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents
Virginia has a legal process, known as the emancipation of a minor, by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law. Although Virginia's default age of majority is 18, emancipation allows a minor to be responsible for their own well-being and make all of their own major life decisions, including school, healthcare, and other matters. Until they are emancipated or turn 18, juveniles will generally be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.
Learn More About Virginia Legal Ages Laws by Speaking to a Lawyer
Whether you are a minor considering emancipation from your parents or have age-related questions about other legal processes, talking to an attorney is the best way to find answers to all of your questions.
Get started by contacting a Virginia family law attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.