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Indiana Legal Ages Laws

It is a constant refrain from parents regarding their children: “They grow up so fast!” Meanwhile, the kids are responding, “Not fast enough.” For the legal system, however, the line is generally pretty clear when separating minors from adults. This is a brief summary of legal age laws in Indiana.

Age of Majority in Indiana

The age at which an individual is considered an adult in the eyes of the law, or the "age of majority," is 18 in most states, including Indiana. For those under the age of 18, legal age laws dictate certain rights and responsibilities of minors. As an example, a 16-year old in Indiana may take out a life insurance policy.

Indiana Age Statutes

The basics of Indiana legal ages laws are highlighted in the following chart.

Age of Majority

18; common law

Eligibility for Emancipation

Not specified

Contracts by Minors

If under 18, child is not able to contract except for necessities and higher education expenses (common law, §20-12-21.3-1); minors 16 or older may contract for life, accident, sickness insurance and annuities (§27-1-12-15)

Minors' Ability to Sue

In own name or through next friend, guardian ad litem, or representative (Trial Proc. R. 17(c))

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

Minors may consent if emancipated, 14 years or older and living apart from parents, married, or in military service (16-36-1-3)

Age limits for marrying and other legal acts can change from state to state. Generally, the differences in age laws reflect varying community and societal values regarding a minor’s level of responsibility and decision-making. For instance, while a 14-year-old in Indiana may be old enough to sue another party in court, he or she may not be allowed to vote until age 18 or drink until 21.

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

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

Indiana Legal Age Laws: Related Resources

State laws can change frequently. You can visit FindLaw’s family law section for additional articles and resources. If you would like legal assistance with a family law or juvenile case, you can contact an Indiana family law attorney in your area.

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