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Washington Legal Ages Laws

Summary of Washington's Legal Ages Laws

Legal rights and responsibilities generally apply to people who have reached the age of majority -- 18 in most states -- at which you are considered an adult. But states also designate additional legal age limits for certain legal processes that apply to minors. Under Washington's legal age laws, minors may petition the court for emancipation at age 16 and minors may file lawsuits at age 14 with a court-appointed guardian or through a relative or friend who is 18 or older.

How to Become an Emancipated Minor in Washington

Washington state allows minors 16 and older to petition to court for emancipation. To be emancipated means taking on the rights and responsibilities of an adult, which otherwise comes with reaching the age of majority (18). The process requires payment of a fee of up to $50, and petitioners (those seeking to become emancipated) must provide the court with the following information:

  • Petitioner's full name, birthdate, and state/county of birth
  • Certified copy of petitioner's birth certificate
  • Name and last known address of petitioner's parents or guardians
  • Petitioner's present address (and length of residence at this address)
  • Declaration by petitioner stating that he or she is able to manage his or her own affairs (any supporting information, such as paycheck stubs, is helpful)

The Washington Courts website provides emancipation court forms for download (in .doc format).

A list of Washington's legal age laws can found in the table below. See Emancipation of Minors and Parental Liability Basics to learn more.

Age of Majority 18 (§26.28.010, et seq.))
Eligibility for Emancipation By judicial petition at age 16 (§13.64.010, et seq.)
Contracts by Minors Bound for contracts for necessities; other contracts valid unless disaffirmed within reasonable time after reaching age of majority and restitution where possible of consideration (26.28.030, et seq.)
Minors' Ability to Sue By guardian; if 14 or over may apply himself for court-appointed guardian; if under 14 application must be made to court through relative or friend (4.08.050)
Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment Not specified

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

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