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Maryland Legal Ages Laws

Parents say it all the time about their children: “They grow up so fast!” And the kids always respond: “Not fast enough.” So where does the legal system draw the line between minors and adults? Here's a brief summary of legal age laws in Maryland.

Age of Majority in Maryland

Most states, including Maryland, have minor laws that state that 18 is the "age of majority," which is the age at which a citizen is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Minors, or those under the age of 18, still have certain rights and responsibilities. As an example, under Maryland law, a 16-year old can consent to treatment for an emotional disorder.

Maryland Age Statutes

Legal ages in Maryland are highlighted in the chart below.

Age of Majority

18 (Art. 1, §24)

Eligibility for Emancipation

Married minor may buy or sell property and to join in deed, mortgage, lease, notes if spouse is of age (Est. & Tr. Art. 13 §503(a)); age 15 re insurance and cannot repudiate on basis of minority (Est. & Tr. Art. 13 §503(c)); or if in military, can enter into real estate transactions (Est. & Tr. Art. 13 §503 (b))

Contracts by Minors

If not beneficial to minor, void ab initio, not ratifiable; if beneficial to minor or uncertain as to benefit or prejudice, voidable by infant, may be ratified at age 18; ratification may be express or through acceptance of benefits; voidable contract may be disaffirmed by minor during minority or reasonable time after age 18 (COML Art. 1 §103)

Minors' Ability to Sue

By guardian, next friend, or parent (R.P. 2-202(b))

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

If married or a parent or seeking help with drug use, alcoholism, VD, sexual assault, pregnancy, contraception, or if seeking consent would be life threatening (Health Gen. Art. 20 §102); minor 16 or older can consent to treatment for emotional disorder (Health Gen. Art. 20 §104)

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

There is a legal process, called the emancipation of a minor, by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law. Although the age of majority in Maryland is 18, emancipation can allow for a minor as young as 15 to be responsible for his or her own decisions regarding school, healthcare, and other matters. In most cases, until they are emancipated or they turn 18, juveniles will normally be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.

Maryland Legal Ages Laws: Related Resources

State laws regulating legal ages are subject to change. If you would like legal assistance with a juvenile case or a family law matter, you can contact a Maryland family law attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's Family Law section for more articles and resources.

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