While teens are growing up and becoming adults, birthdays often mark an exciting time where an almost-adult teen gets to legally do something new. Starting from 15 years old with the graduated driver’s license program, new rights are acquired frequently until the age of 21, when they can finally legally drink. However, many of these coming-of-age events come with responsibility. For example, a child could get sued for a car accident they caused.
For single parents, keep in mind that even though a child is considered an adult at 18, child support can continue until the child turns 19 years old, if the child is still attending high school.
The following chart lists the laws that apply to minors and the legal age of majority for various activities in New Mexico.
|Age of Majority||A child becomes an adult on their 18th birthday in New Mexico. At that time, the child can vote or buy cigarettes, among other adult activities.|
|Eligibility for Emancipation||Minors can be emancipated or consider a legal adult despite being under 18 through several different routes:
However, for all of these emancipation options, the youth must be at least 16 years old.
|Contracts by Minors||Minors aren’t considered to have the legal capacity to enter into contracts. In New Mexico, a contract between a minor and an adult can be cancelled at the request of the minor, but is binding on the adult. Minors can be required to return items they contracted for, like cars, or pay for necessary items like food or rent.|
|Minors’ Ability to Sue||A minor can sue or defend himself or herself against a lawsuit through a guardian, guardian ad litem, or “next friend” (someone else on his or her behalf).|
|Minors’ Consent to Medical Treatment||Any married, previously married, or emancipated child can legally consent to medical his or her own care. Minors can consent to sexually transmitted disease (STD/STI) and HIV/AIDS testing.|
|Blood Donation||A minor who’s at least 17 years old can donate blood at a blood drive or hospital without parental consent. However, the child can’t receive money from any organization for donating blood or blood components like plasma.|
If you’re interested in emancipation, you should consider hiring a local family law attorney to assist you. However, it may be more affordable and less time consuming to just wait it out a few more months or years.
Note: State laws are constantly updated by state and federal legislators and judges, as well as state initiatives and referendums. Please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these state laws.
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