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The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualized (and recognized or declared) in law. It is the chronological moment when a minor ceases to legally be considered a child and assumes control over their persons, actions and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over and for them. The word majority here refers to having greater years and being of full age; it is opposed to minority, the state of being a minor. The law in a given jurisdiction may never actually use the term "age of majority" and the term thereby refers to a collection of laws bestowing the status of adulthood. The age of majority is a legally fixed age, concept or statutory principle, which may differ depending on the jurisdiction, and may not necessarily correspond to actual mental or physical maturity of an individual.

In practical terms, there are certain specific actions which a person who attains the age of majority is permitted to take, which they could not do before. These may include entering into a binding contract, buying stocks, voting, buying and/or consuming alcoholic beverages, driving motor vehicles on public roads, and marrying without obtaining consent of others. The ages at which these various rights or powers may be exercised vary as between the various rights and as between different jurisdictions. For example, the ages at which a person may obtain a license to drive a car or consume alcoholic beverages vary considerably between and also within jurisdictions.

Although a person may attain the age of majority in a particular jurisdiction, he or she may still be subject to age-based restrictions, such as the right to stand for elective office, act as a judge, and many other matters.

Contents

Explanation

Age of majority is frequently confused with similar concept, the age of license,[citation needed] which also pertains to the threshold of adulthood but in a much broader and more abstract way. As a legal term of art, "license" means "permission", and it can implicate a legally enforceable right or privilege. Thus, an age of license is an age at which one has legal permission from government to do something. The age of maturity, on the other hand, is legal recognition that one has grown into an adult.

For example, in any jurisdiction, the age at which an individual is allowed to exercise the franchise (vote), leave school without taking a diploma, enter into legally binding contracts (other than for necessaries, to which no age of license applies), operate a motor vehicle, purchase and consume alcoholic beverages, and so on – these are all ages of license, at which the law permits an individual to perform certain acts and exercise certain rights, with or without any restrictions.

Age of majority pertains solely to the acquisition of control over one's person, decisions and actions, and the correlative termination of the legal authority and responsibility of the parents (or guardian(s), in lieu of parents) over the child’s persons and affairs generally.

Many ages of license are correlated to the age of majority, but they are nonetheless legally distinct concepts. One need not have attained the age of majority to have permission to exercise certain rights and responsibilities. Some ages of license are actually higher than the age of majority. For example, the age of license to purchase alcoholic beverages is 21 in all U.S. states. For most other purposes, the age of majority in the U.S. is 18.[1] Also, the age of majority in the Republic of Ireland is 18, but one must be over 21 years of age to stand for election. A child who is legally emancipated by a court of competent jurisdiction automatically attains to his or her maturity upon the signing of the court order. This is distinct from the legal process by which a child might be taken into foster care and/or made a ward of the court. Foster care and court wardship do not confer maturity upon the child so separated from his or her parents (or guardians). Only emancipation confers the status of maturity before a person has actually reached the age of majority.

Almost all jurisdictions automatically confer emancipation (and with it, the status of majority) upon otherwise minor individuals who are married. Some do likewise for minors who are on active duty in the armed forces.[2] The legal limit for anyone to purchase and have full rights to that item is 14. This law applies to most states in the U.S., except for three: New York, Maryland, Delaware.

Countries and subdivisions

The following list the age of majority in countries (or administrative divisions) as appropriate:

Age 9

Age 14

Age 15

Age 16

Age 17

Age 18

Age 19

Age 20

Age 21

References

  1. ^ http://alisdb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/searchableinstruments/2006rs/bills/sb198.htm
  2. ^ Statutory and Judicial Emancipation of Minors in the United States, 2001-2002 analysis by law students of Northeastern University
  3. ^ a b "IRAN: Calls to ban juvenile death penalty". Los Angeles Times. September 10, 2008. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2008/09/middle-east-cal.html. Retrieved 2009-09-23. "In Iran, capital punishment can be imposed if the defendant has reached the age of “majority," which is set by Iranian law as young as 9 for girls and 15 for boys." 
  4. ^ Interpol report on Albanian law
  5. ^ http://www.cubanet.org/ref/dis/const_92_e.htm
  6. ^ http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Cuba.html
  7. ^ Interpol report on Kyrgyzstan
  8. ^ Interpol report on Uzbekistan law
  9. ^ Interpol report on Austria
  10. ^ Interpol report on Andorra law
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Interpol report on Armenia
  13. ^ "The Age of Majority". Website of the Tangled Moon Coven. http://www.tangledmoon.org/majorityage.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  14. ^ Interpol report on Azerbaijan
  15. ^ Interpol report on Bahamas
  16. ^ Interpol report on Barbados
  17. ^ Interpol report on Belarus
  18. ^ Interpol report on Bosnia and Herzegovina
  19. ^ a b Susan Munroe. "Age of majority". About.com. http://canadaonline.about.com/od/canadianlaw/g/ageofmajority.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-23. "The age of majority in Canada is determined by each province and territory in Canada." 
  20. ^ Interpol report on Denmark
  21. ^ Interpol report on Djibouti (in French)
  22. ^ World Law Direct, Age of Majority list
  23. ^ Indian Majority Act
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ Age of Majority Act 1970
  26. ^ Interpol report on Bahrain
  27. ^ Ordonnance 62-041 du 19 septembre 1962 relative aux dispositions générales de droit interne et de droit international privé
  28. ^ [3]

See also

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Simple English

The age of majority is the age that children in a country become adults by law. This means that they are legally in control over their own actions and decisions, and their parents are no longer responsible for them. When used this way, the word majority means having the full number of years to be an adult. The opposite is minority, which means being a minor or child. The law in a given place may never actually use the words "age of majority" when deciding when people become adults. The age of majority is a legally fixed age and idea of adulthood which is different in different places. It may not match the actual maturity of a person's body or mind.

Once a person reaches the age of majority, there are some things they can do that they could not do before. These may include buying stocks, voting, buying or drinking alcohol, driving cars on public roads, and marrying without having to ask for permission. The ages that these things can be done are different depending on where the person lives.

Even after a person reaches the age of majority, there may be other age-based rules that they still have to follow, such as the right to stand for office in elections or become a judge. For example, the youngest a person is allowed to purchase alcohol is 21 in all U.S. states even though the age of majority is 18. The age of majority in the Republic of Ireland is 18, but a person must be over 21 years old to stand for election.

Emancipation is when a child is freed from the responsibility and care of their parents or legal guardians before they reach the age of majority. This is different from the way a child is given into foster care- emancipation allows the minor to be treated as an adult before they have actually reached the age of majority.

In almost all places, minors who are married are automatically emancipated. Some places also do the same for minors who are in the armed forces or who have a certain degree or diploma.[1]

Countries and subdivisions

This is a list of the age of majority in various countries (or administrative divisions):

Age 14

Age 15

Age 16

Age 17

Age 18

Age 19

Age 20

Age 21

References

  1. Statutory and Judicial Emancipation of Minors in the United States, 2001-2002 analysis by law students of Northeastern University
  2. Interpol report on Albanian law
  3. Constitution of the Republic of Cuba 1992
  4. Culture of Cuba - traditional, history, people, clothing, women, beliefs, food, customs, family, social, marriage, men, life, population, religion, rituals, Cultural name
  5. Interpol report on Kyrgyzstan
  6. Interpol report on Uzbekistan law
  7. Interpol report on Austria
  8. Interpol report on Andorra law
  9. Telam: Política - El Senado aprobó la ley de la mayoría de edad a los 18 años
  10. Interpol report on Armenia
  11. "The Age of Majority". Website of the Tangled Moon Coven. http://www.tangledmoon.org/majorityage.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  12. Interpol report on Azerbaijan
  13. Interpol report on Bahamas
  14. Interpol report on Barbados
  15. Interpol report on Belarus
  16. Interpol report on Bosnia and Herzegovina
  17. 17.0 17.1 Susan Munroe. "Age of majority". About.com. http://canadaonline.about.com/od/canadianlaw/g/ageofmajority.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-23. "The age of majority in Canada is determined by each province and territory in Canada." 
  18. Interpol report on Denmark
  19. Interpol report on Djibouti (in French)
  20. World Law Direct, Age of Majority list
  21. Indian Majority Act
  22. Republic Act No. 6809, December 13, 1989, Chan Robles Law library
  23. Missouri Age of Majority Law - Age of Majority - Minors
  24. Age of Majority Act 1970
  25. Interpol report on Bahrain
  26. Ordonnance 62-041 du 19 septembre 1962 relative aux dispositions générales de droit interne et de droit international privé
  27. Mississippi Age of Majority Law - Age of Majority - Minors

See also


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