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Wisconsin Legal Ages Laws

Parents and children often disagree about when kids become adults. This tension can lead to some fun back and forth. But when it comes to the law, the line is generally clear in separating minors and adults. Wisconsin is no exception. Here is a 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.

Wisconsin Age Statutes

State legal age laws determine:

  • When a child may apply for emancipation from their parents
  • How the law treats contracts involving minors
  • A minor's ability to sue
  • Consent to medical treatment

But these laws differ in each state. Learn more about Wisconsin's legal age laws in the following table.

Age of Majority 18 (WI ST § 990.01)
Eligibility for Emancipation There's no clear statutory process that allows for a minor to become emancipated. But WI ST § 54.46(6) states that a minor who not incompetent is no longer subject to guardianship upon marriage.
Contracts by Minors
  • Loans to attend institution of higher education (WI ST § 39.32(4))
  • Contract for admission to a shelter facility or transitional living program at 17 (WI ST § 48.9875)
  • 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 (WI ST § 803.01(3))
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment
  • Minors 12 years old or older may consent to treatment for abuse of alcohol or other drugs (WI ST § 51.47)
  • Minors may donate bone marrow under particular conditions (WI ST § 146.34)
  • A minor 14 years old or older may petition the court for admission to an inpatient treatment facility for alcohol or drugs (WI ST § 51.13)
  • A minor may receive treatment at an outpatient mental health facility for 30 days without consent of a parent or guardian (WI ST § 51.138)
  • A physician may diagnose or treat a minor with a sexually transmitted disease without consent of a parent or guardian (WI ST § 252.11)

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

While Wisconsin sets the default age of majority at 18, a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law. Emancipation allows a minor to become responsible for their well-being. That means they can make decisions about their:

  • Healthcare
  • School
  • Other matters

Until they turn 18 or become emancipated, states generally treat people as juveniles in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.

Get Legal Help With Your Emancipation or Other Age-related Matter

Wisconsin's legal age laws set 18 as the default age of majority. But individuals under the age of 18 can become legal adults. FindLaw's family law section contains more information if you are a minor ready for independence. You can talk to a Wisconsin family law attorney when you want to start the emancipation process. An attorney can also assist you with other issues arising from legal age laws.

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