South Dakota’s age of majority is eighteen years old. Ordinarily, minors younger than eighteen need a parent or guardian to exercise legal rights and consent to a various decisions and activities (remember those permission slips?).
There are circumstances where minors can make decisions without a parent or guardian, however. South Dakota permits minors to become emancipated once they’re married, are serving on active duty in the military, or following a court-approved agreement with their parents.
South Dakota’s Legal Age Laws
Most legal age laws exist to protect minors. While minors can sue to enforce their legal rights, they need to proceed through a parent or guardian. A guardian ad litem can be appointed for minors without an existing guardian. There’s also a prohibition on minors making contracts relating to real property (such as real estate) or personal property outside of their immediate possession.
South Dakota joins many states in allowing minors to get out of, or “disaffirm,” most contracts entered into before the age of majority. Exceptions exist for contracts relating to necessities and as otherwise permitted by law. Also, minors can consent to being tested and treated for venereal diseases on their own.
The following table provides a summary of South Dakota’s legal age laws:
|Age of Majority||18 years (26-1-1).|
|Eligibility for Emancipation||Minors become emancipated by (1) marrying; (2) serving on active duty military service; or (3) receiving a court declaration of emancipation. This requires parental agreement. (25-5-19; 25-5-24).|
|Contracts by Minors||Minors can enter binding contracts but can disaffirm as permitted by law. Minors cannot make contracts regarding real property or personal property not under the minor’s immediate control. Minors can disaffirm a contract before the age of eighteen, a year after turning 18, or by restoring consideration plus interest to the other party. (26-2-1, et seq.).|
|Minors’ Ability to Sue||Minors can sue through a parent, guardian, conservator, or guardian ad litem (15-6-17(c)).|
|Minors’ Consent to Medical Treatment||Minors can consent to treatment for venereal diseases (34-23-16).|
Related Resources for Legal Ages Laws:
Questions concerning minors, parents, and the law can be complex. You can find more information about family law and parental rights and liability on these pages. If you or someone you know has a specific family law concern, consider contacting a family law attorney. A family law attorney can review your case and provide specific legal advice tailored to your situation.
Contact a qualified attorney.