age of consent

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In family law, age of consent refers to the age one can give meaningful consent. If over the age of 18 years, meaningful consent is presumed. However the presumption may be negated if the person lacked capacity due to developmental disability, illness or duress. It may also be the age at which a person is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. The age of consent varies between the states from 16 to 18-years old.

For example, in New York State, the age of consent is 17-years old. In New York, individuals aged under 16-years old are not legally able to consent to sexual activity. Likewise, if an individual aged of 18-years old or older has sexual activity with someone aged 16-years old or under, it will be considered Statutory Rape. 

[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]