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What age laws affect minors and young adults in Georgia?

Family law is about more than just divorce or marriage, adoption or same-sex issues. Minors are also recognized as individuals who could be in a position to have concerns before the family court. Minors are unable to make legal decisions in many cases because they are too young to do so.

Interestingly, Georgia does not have a legal minimum age for minors to be before emancipation is possible. That could mean a child of 14 or 16 could be legally emancipated if the conditions were right, just the same as a younger child could apply for emancipation. In many cases, though, a guardian or representative will need to speak for the minor in court.

One difficulty with age variances in law is that is that those under the age of 18 are restricted in decision making in other areas; for example, a 17-year-old minor can't consent to medical treatments or create a contract with a business or other person. The age of majority is 18 in Georgia. That's when children are no longer considered to be minors and may start making decisions about their own lives. They can obtain credit cards, bank accounts, own regulated items of some types and buy cigarettes. Those 18 or older can be tried in adult and not juvenile court, so any crimes will be seen as being committed by an adult.

The one area where turning 18 doesn't give a person the same rights is alcohol consumption and purchasing. As in the rest of the United States, you must be 21 before you can drink or purchase alcohol; Georgia is a zero-tolerance state, so even a small amount of alcohol in the body can lead to a DUI for a person under 21.

If you are a minor and find yourself needing the services of the family court system, it is advisable to seek legal counsel first.

Source: FindLaw, "Georgia Legal Ages Laws," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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