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Washington Legal Ages Laws

Last updated 01/06/2020

Legal rights and responsibilities generally apply to people who have reached the age of majority -- 18 in most states -- at which you are considered an adult. But states also designate additional legal age limits for certain legal processes that apply to minors. Under Washington's legal age laws, minors may petition the court for emancipation at age 16 and minors may file lawsuits at age 14 with a court-appointed guardian or through a relative or friend who is 18 or older.

How to Become an Emancipated Minor in Washington

Washington state allows minors 16 and older to petition to court for emancipation. To be emancipated means taking on the rights and responsibilities of an adult, which otherwise comes with reaching the age of majority (18). The process requires payment of a fee of up to $50, and petitioners (those seeking to become emancipated) must provide the court with the following information:

  • Petitioner's full name, birthdate, and state/county of birth
  • Certified copy of petitioner's birth certificate
  • Name and last known address of petitioner's parents or guardians
  • Petitioner's present address (and length of residence at this address)
  • Declaration by petitioner stating that he or she is able to manage his or her own affairs (any supporting information, such as paycheck stubs, is helpful)

The Washington Courts website provides emancipation court forms for download (in .doc format).

Summary of Washington's Legal Age Laws

A list of Washington's legal age laws can found in the table below. See Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics to learn more.

Age of Majority
Eligibility for Emancipation

    By judicial petition at age 16 (§13.64.010, et seq.)

Contracts by Minors

    Bound for contracts for necessities; other contracts valid unless disaffirmed within reasonable time after reaching age of majority and restitution where possible of consideration (26.28.030, et seq.)

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 relative or friend (4.08.050)

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

    Not specified

Other Activities That Have Age Limits 

    A person can't purchase tobacco or alcohol until they reach 21 years old.

    A person needs to be at least 18 years old to be able to vote.

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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