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California Legal Ages Laws

States differentiate between adults and minors with respect to legal capacity. In other words, the law cannot assign legal responsibility to an individual who lacks the mental capacity or maturity to fully understand the consequences of their actions. People mature at different ages, but states must draw the line somewhere. California's legal ages laws, for instance, establish an "age of majority" (18) at which an individual is legally considered an adult. The state's family code also states that children must be 14 or older (unless they are married or in the military) in order to be eligible for emancipation.

This chart provides the basics of California legal age laws. See How Long Do Parents' Legal Obligations to Their Children Continue? to learn more.

Age of Majority 18 (Fam. §6500)
Eligibility for Emancipation 14 (Fam. §7120), or if married or in military (Fam. §7002)
Contracts by Minors Yes (Fam. §6700) except he cannot give a delegation of power, made a contract relating to real property or personal property not in immediate possession or control of the minor (Fam. §6701)
Minors' Ability to Sue Guardian (Fam. §6601)
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment Minor may consent if 15 years or older, living apart from parents, and managing own finances (§6922)

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a California family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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