If you’re a young person, you may want to know your legal rights and when you will be considered a full-fledged adult in your state. In Utah, that age is 18 years old. However, even though you get many rights at that age, some rights, such as the ability to buy alcohol or go to a bar, come later at the age of 21.
Additionally, you could be considered “emancipated” or an adult despite being under 18 in some situations, such as if you’re married. In Utah, you can also petition the court for emancipation to obtain all the rights and responsibilities of being an adult.
The following table details the primary legal age laws in Utah.
|Code Sections||Utah Code Section 15-2-1: Period of Minority|
|Age of Majority||The age of legal majority or adulthood in Utah is 18 years old. After that, you can get married, buy cigarettes, and do all sorts of other adult activities, besides purchasing alcohol.
However, a Utah divorce court can order child support until a couple’s child is 21 years old.
|Eligibility for Emancipation||Married minors are emancipated and considered adults upon marriage. Also, if you’re 16 or 17 years old, you can petition the juvenile court for legal emancipation to be considered an adult.|
|Contracts by Minors||Minors are bound for contracts they make for necessaries, such as food, shelter, clothing, etc. For other contracts, the child can disaffirm them within a reasonable time after reaching 18 years old, as long as anything of value is returned to the person contracted with, then they aren’t liable for their obligations under the contract. If not disaffirmed, then the contract is valid.
In addition, a teen who is at least 16 years old can contract for insurance, such as car or rental insurance, if needed.
|Minors' Ability to Sue||Under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 17, a minor can only sue through a guardian or guardian ad litem only. At the age of 14, the minor can petition the court for a guardian to be appointed to sue or defend oneself. If under 14, a relative or friend of the child can petition for a guardian.|
|Minor’s Consent to Medical Treatment||Minor’s can consent to sexually transmitted infection (STI or STD) testing and treatment. A minor can consent to immunizations, usually, if married, emancipated, a parent with custody of a minor child, or is pregnant.|
If you’re under 18 and are interested in getting legally emancipated, you may need to hire an experienced Utah family law attorney to help draft your emancipation petition and represent you in court. Think it over and consult with a trusted adult because it may be easier and cheaper to just wait until you turn 18.
Note: State laws are changed constantly. It’s important to verify these state laws by speaking with a lawyer or conducting your own legal research.
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