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Michigan Legal Ages Laws

At the same time parents are lamenting that their children are growing up too fast, the kids are responding, “Not fast enough.” In the eyes of the law, however, the line is generally pretty clear in separating minors and adults. This article is a quick summary of legal age laws in Michigan.

Age of Majority in Michigan

The "age of majority" -- the age at which an individual is legally considered an adult -- is 18 in most states, including Michigan. For those younger than 18, legal age laws dictate certain rights and responsibilities of minors. For instance, Michigan's legal age laws state that a 14-year-old may file a lawsuit, while a child 16 or older may be emancipated by judicial order.

Michigan Age Statutes

The following chart highlights the basics of Michigan legal ages laws.

Age of Majority

18 (722.1(a))

Eligibility for Emancipation

Through marriage, military service, or by judicial petition at age 16 (722.4 et seq.)

Contracts by Minors

For necessities only (common law, §600.1403)

Minors' Ability to Sue

By next friend or guardian of estate; if age 14 or over, can select own (Mich. Court Rules Rule 2.201 (E))

Minors' Consent to Medical Treatment

If pregnant (§333.9132); HIV or venereal disease treatment (§333.5127); substance abuse treatment 

Each state can have its own age limits for voting, marrying, consuming alcohol. Most of the time, these differences reflect community and societal values regarding minors’ decision-making and responsibility. For example, while a fourteen-year old may be old enough to be sued in court for intentionally injuring someone else or damaging someone else’s property, he or she may not be allowed to drink until age 21 or vote until age 18.

Legal Responsibilities of Minors and Parents

The emancipation of a minor refers to a legal process by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law. While Michigan sets the default age of majority at 18, emancipation can allow a minor to be responsible for his or her own wellbeing and make all of his or her own major decisions regarding healthcare, school, and other matters. Until they turn 18 or are they are emancipated, juveniles will generally be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses.

Learn More About Michigan Legal Ages Laws

State laws, including those related to family law, are always subject to changes. If you want to know more about emancipation or other related legal topics in Michigan, you should contact a local family law attorney who is well versed in the current state of the law.

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