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Washington 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 Washington recognizes the age of majority as 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, and other legal matters.

This article provides a brief overview of the legal age statutes in the state of Washington.

Summary of Washington's Legal Age Laws

A list of Washington's legal age laws can be found in the table below.

Age of Majority

18 (R.C.W. § 26.28.010)

Eligibility for Emancipation

By judicial petition at age 16 (R.C.W. § 13.64.020 et seq.)

Contracts by Minors

  • Minors are bound for contracts for necessities; other contracts are valid unless disaffirmed within a reasonable time after reaching the age of majority and restitution where possible of consideration (R.C.W. § 26.28.030)
  • Minors age 16 or older may take out loans for the purpose of higher education (R.C.W. § 26.30.020)
  • No contract can be disaffirmed where on the account of the minor's own misrepresentations as to their majority, or having engaged in business as an adult, and the other party had good reasons to believe the minor was capable of contracting (R.C.W. § 26.28.040)

Minors' Ability to Sue

By guardian; if 14 or over may apply himself for court-appointed guardian; if under 14 application must be made to court through a relative or friend (R.C.W. § 4.08.050)

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

  • Minors 14 or older who may have come in contact with any sexually transmitted disease may give consent to the diagnosis and treatment of the disease; the consent of another party is not needed to authorize hospital, medical, and surgical care (R.C.W. § 70.24.110)
  • A minor may admit themselves for an evaluation and treatment for inpatient mental health treatment or an approved substance use disorder treatment program for inpatient substance use treatment without parental consent (R.C.W. § 71.34.500)

Legal Age for Alcohol, Tobacco, or E-cigarette Purchase and/or Consumption

21 (R.C.W. § 66.44.270)

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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Washington Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources

Questions About Legal Age Laws? Contact a Washington Family Attorney Today

Many aspects of family life, including the ability to become emancipated from one's parents, have certain age restrictions and age-related regulations. Knowing how the law applies to your particular situation will help you make the right choices.

Get started by finding an experienced attorney near you.

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