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Wisconsin Legal Ages Laws

Parents often aren't quick to agree that their children are grown up adults. Kids, meanwhile, feel like they’ve been grownups for years. This can lead to some fun back and forth. But when it comes to the law, the line is generally pretty clear in separating minors and adults. Here is a brief summary of legal age laws in Wisconsin.

Age of Majority in Wisconsin

Children become adults in the eyes of the law at age 18 in most states, including Wisconsin. In addition, legal age laws determine when a child may apply for emancipation from his or her parents, how the law treats contracts involving minors, a minor's ability to sue, and consent to medical treatment.

Wisconsin Age Statutes

Each state may have different age laws and limits. Learn more about Wisconsin's legal age laws in the following table.

Age of Majority 18
Eligibility for Emancipation By marriage unless incompetent
Contracts by Minors Valid only for necessaries; necessaries contracts not valid if no implied or express provision for payment exists; contract made by infant may be ratified by acts or words after reaching age of majority (common law)
Minors' Ability to Sue By guardian or guardian ad litem (803.01(3))
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment Not specified

Age limits for voting, marrying, consuming alcohol, and other activities can vary from state-to-state and within the same state. For example, while a fourteen-year old may not be allowed to drink until age 21 or vote until age 18, he or she might be old enough to be sued in court for intentionally injuring someone else or damaging property. Generally, these differences reflect societal and community values regarding minors’ responsibility and decision-making.

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

While Wisconsin sets the default age of majority at 18, there is a legal process by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law. The emancipation of a minor allows him or her to be responsible for his or her own wellbeing and make all of his or her own major decisions regarding healthcare, school, and other matters. Until they turn 18 or are emancipated, juveniles will generally be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.

Additional Resources for Legal Age Laws

State laws can change frequently. You can visit FindLaw’s family law section to continue your own research. You may want to contact an experienced family law attorney in Wisconsin to best understand your rights and responsibilities.

Get Legal Help with Your Emancipation or Other Age-Related Matter

Wisconsin's legal ages laws set 18 as the default age of majority, but allow individuals under the age of 18 to become legal adults. If you are a minor who is ready to be independent and accept your own adult responsibilities, then you should talk to a family law attorney in Wisconsin who can help you with the emancipation process. An attorney can assist with the filing, in addition to other issues arising from the legal ages laws.

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