Under the law, a child usually refers to an individual who is a minor, who is below legal age or the age of majority. The age of majority being 18 in most states. Being below the age of majority means that the child will have fewer rights but also less responsibilities than those who have attained the age of majority. It is important to note that the age of majority differs from state to state and from country to country.
In family law, a child is the offspring, whether biological or adopted, of either one or both of the spouses (parents). In the event of divorce, the child is considered an ancillary issue to the litigation. Before the divorce can be finalized, all issues regarding the child, such as custody, visitation and child support, must be decided. Although a person may be the child of another at any age, with regards to family law, children considered ancillary to the action are younger than 18 years-old, or if over 18 years-old, they are attending college.
[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]