Delaware Legal Ages Laws

Delaware recognizes 18 as the "age of majority," or the age at which state residents are legally considered adults, as do most other states. But state laws also govern a minor's eligibility to become emancipated, give consent to medical treatment, and other legal matters. Delaware legal ages laws allow minors as young as 16 petition the court for emancipation and may enter into a contract to pay for college tuition if 18 or older.

In simple terms, this means that a person under the age of majority, needs parent/guardian permission before he or she can do many things such as enter into a legally binding contract. Once he or she is 18, permission is no longer needed. There are several important exceptions to this, as noted below.

Emancipation of Minors in Delaware

The Diamond State does not have a emancipation of minors law on its book. Instead, it's decided on a case-by-case basis. While Delaware does not provide a formal procedure for the emancipation of minors, the court may grant a minor's request for emancipation in some rare instances. Generally, a Delaware court may consider a minor emancipated if he or she is:

  • At least 16-years-old;
  • Living separately from the parents;
  • Not relying on parents for living expenses; and
  • Able to manage his or her financial affairs.

Minors and Lawsuits in Delaware

When it comes to having the capacity to undertake certain legal actions, Delaware law allows a minor to file a lawsuit to enforce his or her rights -- although a guardian must conduct the actual lawsuit for the minor if he or she is under 18-years-old.

The table below highlights some of the main provisions of Delaware legal ages laws. See Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics for related information.

Age of Majority
18 (1 §701)
Eligibility for Emancipation

No statute

Contracts by Minors

18 (6 §2705)

Minors' Ability to Sue

18 (10 §3923)

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

No statute

Legal Age for Alcohol Purchase and/or Consumption 21

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

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