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What is the Age of Majority?

By Victoria Blackburn
Updated: May 16, 2024

The age of majority is a legal term used to delineate the age at which a minor is no longer considered such. Instead, for all intents and purposes, when a person passes this age, he or she is treated as an adult with adult responsibilities. At this age, the legal control of his or her parents or guardians ceases.

This age is a legal distinction, and differs based on where a person lives. Depending on the country where one lives, the age of majority may be set by the federal government of the country or it may be set by a jurisdictional government, such as a state or provincial government. In many places, the age is 18.

Since age of majority is a legal term, it does not reflect the mental or physical maturity of the person being described. For instance, there are a few countries that bestow adult responsibilities at an age still considered to be children in the rest of the world. Iran is one such example, where nine is used for girls and 15 for boys. Even when a person reaches this age, there still may be further age-based restrictions for particular activities.

Many activities have age restrictions affiliated with them, which may or may not be the same as the age of majority. These actions are deemed to have an age of license under the law and should not be confused with the age of majority. Examples of actions that have an age of license include voting, being able to purchase and consume alcohol and tobacco, driving a motor vehicle, leaving school and entering into legally binding contracts.

Emancipation can be conferred onto most individuals if they are married below the age of majority, and in some cases, if they are part of the military. Children can go through a court procedure to be legally emancipated from their parents, so that they take full responsibility for themselves. In most instances, the youngest age where a child can do this is 14. When children are emancipated from their parents or guardians, they are treated legally as if they have reached adult age.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon321201 — On Feb 21, 2013

I m 18 and my father got SSD back pay years ago and my mother opened a savings with the money that went to me for me until I was 18 and she just signed my name off of it so now I cannot access my own savings account. I need to know how I go about getting it signed back into my name only?

By anon170927 — On Apr 28, 2011

what if you are 15, living in Vancouver Canada and your father's abused you since you were a toddler, your mother treats you awfully and threatens you 24/7 and it's unbearable living with them? could I get emancipated and move out?

By anon168776 — On Apr 18, 2011

i need help and i need it fast. i am 12 and turning 13 and have lived in foster care my whole life. i am getting adopted soon though, and i do not want visitation court ordered to me with my grandparents. They have ruined the lives of everyone in my family, and are the only reason i am in my current situation.

my grandpa is manipulative and thinks he's above everyone. i was wondering what the age is in new york that you can have complete control over if i go or not.

By anon138262 — On Dec 30, 2010

can you leave your guardian or parent at the age of 16?

By anon110208 — On Sep 11, 2010

what if you're 12, turning 13 in december and your mom treats you like crap and threatens you and you can take can of yourself and have a place to stay?

By anon95005 — On Jul 11, 2010

what if you're a 15 year old child in foster care but you are still taking care of yourself by going to school and eating well and not worrying about the outside world as much as the inside. can you still do the emancipation? Like do you need your parents approval of the situation?

By anon85659 — On May 21, 2010

what if you're 13 and it's may, but your birthday is in september and you turn 14?

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