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Iowa Legal Ages Laws

Kids can't wait to do everything. And their parents can hardly stand to see them grow up so fast. In the constant battle of "how old is hold enough," what does the legal system have to say on the matter? Where do Hawkeye State laws draw the line between minors and adults? While the short answer is 18-years-old, the longer answer is that it depends on the situation. This is an introduction to legal age laws in Iowa.


Age of Majority in Iowa

State minor laws dictate the age at which a minor child is considered an adult in the eyes of the law, also known as the "age of majority." The default age under most circumstances is 18, but minors under the age of 18 may still retain certain rights and responsibilities in certain situations. For instance, minors can still be held liable for contracts that they enter into.

Iowa Age Statutes

The chart below lists the details of Iowa’s legal ages statutes.

Code Section

Iowa Code 599, et seq.: Minors

Age of Majority


Iowa Code 599.1: Period of Minority

Eligibility for Emancipation



Contracts by Minors

For necessities; for other contracts, minor is bound unless disaffirmed after reasonable time of attaining majority and restoration made of money and property received

Iowa Code 599.2: Contracts

Minors' Ability to Sue

By minor's guardian or by next friend; court may substitute at its discretion

Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure 1.210: Minors

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

Not specified

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

In every state, there is a legal process through which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law, called the emancipation of a minor. Iowa's emancipation statute can allow a minor under the age of 18, and as young as 16, to petition the court to be responsible for deciding his or her own healthcare, education, and other matters. Until a juvenile turns 18 or is emancipated, he or she will be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.

Iowa Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources

Figuring out when children will be treated like adults under the law can be tricky. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on Family Law. You can also contact an Iowa family law attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a family law or a juvenile issue.

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