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In the United States, a minor is any individual under the specified “age of majority” for their state or territory., All states define an age of majority, which is usually set at 18, but states like Indiana and Mississippi set it at 21, while in Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, or Nebraska, the age of majority is 19. Persons younger than this age are considered minors, and must be under the care of a parent or guardian unless they are emancipated. Minors are treated differently from adults for many legal purposes including privacy of official records, punishment in criminal matters, or the ownership or transfer of property. Depending on the law of the applicable jurisdiction, a minor may also be legally unable to enter into any contract agreement without parental consent (or that of a guardian), making any such contract void.

See also:

  • Emancipation of minors
  • The LII list of state laws on emancipation

[Last updated in July of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]