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Massachusetts Legal Ages Laws

As do most other states, Massachusetts recognizes eighteen as the "age of majority," or the age at which state residents are legally considered adults. There are other legal ages laws, however, that give minors (individuals under the age of eighteen) the ability to become emancipated, give consent to medical treatment, and perform other legal matters usually reserved for adults.

The following article highlights some of Massachusetts's legal ages laws. For additional related information see these articles --Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics --and the links at the end of this article.

Age of Majority

In Massachusetts, the age of majority is eighteen. (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231, section 85P)

Eligibility for Emancipation Emancipation is a court process in which a minor may be legally declared an independent adult. Massachusetts General Laws do not specify who is eligible for emancipation in the state. Typically, a minor must file a petition with the court and present his or her case at hearing before a judge will grant emancipation.

Contracts by Minors

In most circumstances, a contract will be invalid if one party to the contract is a minor. Massachusetts recognizes a few exceptions for necessaries and education, motor vehicle liability insurance (if age sixteen or older), and life insurance (for age 15 or older). (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 175 sections 113K and 128 and court decisions).

Minors' Ability to Sue

A minor may file a lawsuit against another party though a “next friend,” representative, or guardian ad litem (Rules of Civil Procedure 17(b)).

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

A minor aged twelve or may consent to appropriate medical care if he or she is certified to be drug dependent (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, section 12E). Additionally, a minor may consent to emergency medical care under the following circumstances: he or she is married, widowed, divorced; is a parent; is a member of armed forces; lives separately from parents and manages his or her own financial affairs; has come into contact with dangerous public health disease; or is pregnant (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, section 12F).

State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Massachusetts family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of Massachusetts legal ages laws.

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