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Texas Legal Ages Laws

Overview of Texas Legal Age Laws

Texas, as do many other states, recognizes 18 as the "age of majority," at which point residents are legally considered adults (as opposed to "minors"). But Texas legal ages laws also govern a minor's eligibility for emancipation, the legal capacity for signing a contract or consenting to medical treatment. Also, the legal age for alcohol consumption in all states is 21.

Emancipation of Minors in Texas

Texas law allows for the emancipation of minors in certain circumstances. Any minor petitioning a Texas court for emancipation -- that is, being declared an adult in the eyes of the law -- must be a Texas resident, 17 years old (or 16 and living apart from one's parents), and able to support and manage one's own affairs.

The minor seeking emancipation will have to state the following in his or her petition:

  • Name, age, residency of petitioner
  • Name and residency of parents/guardians (if still living), or managing conservator (if applicable)
  • Reasons why emancipation serves the best interests of the petitioning minor
  • Purpose for the request

Consenting to Medical Treatment as a Minor

Any minor who is either in the military or 16 years old and living apart from one's parents (and thus eligible for emancipation) may consent to medical treatment. However, all minors in Texas may consent to treatment pertaining to pregnancy, drug or alcohol abuse, or infectious diseases.

The table below highlights some of the main provisions of Texas legal ages laws. See Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics for related information.

Age of Majority 18 (Civ. Prac. & Rem. §129.001)
Eligibility for Emancipation If resident and 17 or 16 if living apart from guardian or parents and is self supporting or by marriage (Fam. §31.001 et seq.)
Contracts by Minors Must disaffirm within reasonable time after reaching age of majority (common law)
Minors' Ability to Sue Guardian, next friend, guardian ad litem (Tex. R. Civ. P. 44)
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment Minors may consent to any treatment if in military or 16 years old and living apart from parents. Any minors may consent to treatment for pregnancy, substance abuse, or infectious diseases (Fam. §32.003).

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Texas family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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