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West Virginia Legal Ages Laws

Parents are probably worrying about how fast they’re kids are growing up, and kids never think they’re growing up fast enough. And while parents and their children are arguing over when the kids will finally be grownups, laws in the Mountain State are a little clearer on distinguishing between minors and adults. Here's a quick introduction to legal age laws in West Virginia.

Age of Majority in West Virginia

States minor laws define the age at which a citizen is considered an adult in the eyes of the law, also known as the "age of majority." Although these laws can vary, West Virginia is like most states and has an age of majority of 18 years old, or 16 if you are married. Minors do still have some legal rights and responsibilities, like the ability to enter into some contracts and make medical care decisions.

West Virginia Age Statutes

The details of West Virginia’s legal age laws are listed below.

Age of Majority


West Virginia Code 2-2-10(aa): “Minor” Definition

Eligibility for Emancipation

By marriage, if under 16; if over 16 unmarried may apply to court; must show ability to support oneself and make decisions

West Virginia Code 49-7-27: Emancipation

Contracts by Minors

Common law governs; ratification must be in writing and signed by charged party

West Virginia Code 55-1-1: Statute of Frauds

Minors' Ability to Sue

By next friend, or guardian; defends by guardian ad litem

West Virginia Code 56-4-9: Minors May Sue

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

Not specified

Emancipation and the Legal Responsibilities of Minors

There is a legal process by which a person under the age of 18 in West Virginia can apply to become an adult in the eyes of the law. This process is known as the “emancipation of a minor” and can allow a minor to become responsible for his or her own welfare and make decisions regarding education, health care, and residence, among other things. A child must be 16 or married to apply for emancipation, and courts generally decide emancipation cases with the minor’s best interests in mind. In criminal cases, minors will normally be treated as such until they are emancipated or they turn 18, especially for age and status offenses.

More Resources for West Virginia Legal Ages Laws

As you can see in the chart above, state legal ages laws can cover a variety of scenarios. FindLaw’s section on Family Law can provide you with additional articles and resources on this topic. You can also consult with a West Virginia family law attorney in your area if you would like legal help regarding a juvenile case or a family law matter.

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