New Jersey Legal Ages Laws

Most legal processes only apply to adults, those who are 18 years and older in most states -- although there are exceptions in every state for certain situations. Because they are still in the process of developing an understanding of behavioral and social norms, most people agree that young children should not be held legally accountable for their actions. In legal terms, children are said to lack legal capacity, and therefore are not treated and/or punished in the same way as adults. This makes sense, since the law does not, in general, hold people accountable who lack the mental capacity or maturity to understand the consequences of their actions. But at what point does a child legally become an adult -- i.e. when does an individual attain legal capacity?

Since maturity varies from person to person, when it comes to assigning an age for attaining legal capacity, states must draw a line somewhere -- even if it is somewhat arbitrary. While some states set a definite age at which a minor may be emancipated, New Jersey law does not specify an exact age (instead, it's decided on a case-by-case basis). The law also address things like the ability to enter into a contract, the ability to sue, and the age at which a minor may consent to medical treatment.

Learn more about New Jersey's legal ages laws below. See Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics for related information.

Age of Majority

18 (9:17B-3)

Eligibility for Emancipation

Not specified

Contracts by Minors

17, if minor spouse for sale of property (37:2-30); 15 for insurance contracts (17B:24 -2)

Minors' Ability to Sue

By guardian or guardian ad litem (2A: 4A-39)

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

If married or pregnant (9:17A-1.9)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more general information, feel free to browse FindLaw’s article discussing parents’ legal obligation to care for their children. You can also click on the links listed below to read up on more information relating to New Jersey’s age laws. Finally, if you need more in-depth information or assistance, consider contacting a family law attorney.

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New Jersey Legal Ages Laws: Relate Resources

Get Legal Help from a New Jersey Attorney

The legal ages laws explain the role of minors when it comes to legal matters. If you are a minor with concerns about your ability to sue or enter into contracts, then you should talk to an attorney. An experienced family attorney can help you with these and other issues related to the legal ages laws in New Jersey.

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