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LEGAL DICTIONARY

Minor Child

What Is a Minor Child?

A minor child, also called a minor, is someone under the age of majority, which is defined as the age that distinguishes between childhood and adulthood in the eyes of the law.

The age of majority is 18 in 47 of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. In Alabama (Code of Alabama § 26-1-1) and Nebraska (NE Stat. § 43-2101), the age of majority is 19. Finally, in Mississippi, the age of majority is 21 (MS Code § 1-3-27).

Not all individuals under the age of 18 are considered minors or “juveniles” in terms of any criminal responsibility, however. These laws vary widely by state. And not all rights or responsibilities of being an adult are granted when a minor child reaches the age of majority. Here are some examples:

  • The legal drinking age is 21 across the U.S.
  • The age of majority for health insurance coverage under a parent ends at 26.
  • The age of majority does not necessarily end parental responsibilities such as child support.

What Is 42 U.S. Code Section 619?

According to 42 U.S. Code Section 619, a minor child is an individual who is under age 18 or who is under age 19 and is enrolled full-time as a student in secondary school (or an equivalent vocational or technical school).

Minors must be under the care and supervision of a parent or adult guardian unless they are legally emancipated. Emancipation is a court decision that grants a minor the legal rights of an adult. In the U.S., each state has some form of emancipation for minors who have reached the age of 16.

A minor who is emancipated assumes legal responsibility for their own decisions and care. A minor child can become emancipated in the following ways:

  • Marriage
  • Military enlistment
  • Declaration of emancipation

It is generally thought that minor children should not make medical or healthcare decisions for themselves. States recognize that parents have their child’s best interests in mind and are best suited to make those decisions for them.

However, sometimes children are away from their parents when medical emergencies occur, or the need for healthcare arises. For example, an injury might occur at a school sports event or daycare. In these situations, a child medical consent form is necessary.

A child medical consent form (also called a medical release form) is legal paperwork that authorizes someone other than the parent or legal guardian the temporary right to seek healthcare and make healthcare decisions on behalf of a child.

[Download Your Free Child Medical Consent Form now]

If a child needs to travel without a parent or guardian present, they will need a Child Travel Consent form (also called a Letter of Permission to Travel). This form provides proof that a child has parental permission to travel. Without the proper documents, travel officials may not allow a minor child to travel into or out of the country.

If a minor child is crossing borders with one parent, the other parent needs to sign the consent form. Officials are likely to ask for supporting documents to confirm identities. These documents may include your passport or photo ID. The form includes the following information:

  • The child’s full name and contact information
  • Both parents’ (or guardian’s) names and contact information
  • The child’s travel arrangements
  • The child’s travel destination

It’s essential to check a country’s rules for traveling abroad with a minor child before you leave home.

[Start a Free Child Travel Consent Form now]

Helpful Resources:

Cornell Law - 42 U.S. Code § 619

Law Insider - Minor children Definition

US Encyclopedia of law - US Code 42-USC-619

Notary on Demand - Child Travel Consent: 7 Answers to Your FAQs

Stimmel Law - Minors: Rights and Obligations

What Is a Minor Child?

A minor child, also called a minor, is someone under the age of majority, which is defined as the age that distinguishes between childhood and adulthood in the eyes of the law.

The age of majority is 18 in 47 of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. In Alabama (Code of Alabama § 26-1-1) and Nebraska (NE Stat. § 43-2101), the age of majority is 19. Finally, in Mississippi, the age of majority is 21 (MS Code § 1-3-27).

Not all individuals under the age of 18 are considered minors or “juveniles” in terms of any criminal responsibility, however. These laws vary widely by state. And not all rights or responsibilities of being an adult are granted when a minor child reaches the age of majority. Here are some examples:

  • The legal drinking age is 21 across the U.S.
  • The age of majority for health insurance coverage under a parent ends at 26.
  • The age of majority does not necessarily end parental responsibilities such as child support.

What Is 42 U.S. Code Section 619?

According to 42 U.S. Code Section 619, a minor child is an individual who is under age 18 or who is under age 19 and is enrolled full-time as a student in secondary school (or an equivalent vocational or technical school).

Minors must be under the care and supervision of a parent or adult guardian unless they are legally emancipated. Emancipation is a court decision that grants a minor the legal rights of an adult. In the U.S., each state has some form of emancipation for minors who have reached the age of 16.

A minor who is emancipated assumes legal responsibility for their own decisions and care. A minor child can become emancipated in the following ways:

  • Marriage
  • Military enlistment
  • Declaration of emancipation

It is generally thought that minor children should not make medical or healthcare decisions for themselves. States recognize that parents have their child’s best interests in mind and are best suited to make those decisions for them.

However, sometimes children are away from their parents when medical emergencies occur, or the need for healthcare arises. For example, an injury might occur at a school sports event or daycare. In these situations, a child medical consent form is necessary.

A child medical consent form (also called a medical release form) is legal paperwork that authorizes someone other than the parent or legal guardian the temporary right to seek healthcare and make healthcare decisions on behalf of a child.

[Download Your Free Child Medical Consent Form now]

If a child needs to travel without a parent or guardian present, they will need a Child Travel Consent form (also called a Letter of Permission to Travel). This form provides proof that a child has parental permission to travel. Without the proper documents, travel officials may not allow a minor child to travel into or out of the country.

If a minor child is crossing borders with one parent, the other parent needs to sign the consent form. Officials are likely to ask for supporting documents to confirm identities. These documents may include your passport or photo ID. The form includes the following information:

  • The child’s full name and contact information
  • Both parents’ (or guardian’s) names and contact information
  • The child’s travel arrangements
  • The child’s travel destination

It’s essential to check a country’s rules for traveling abroad with a minor child before you leave home.

[Start a Free Child Travel Consent Form now]

Helpful Resources:

Cornell Law - 42 U.S. Code § 619

Law Insider - Minor children Definition

US Encyclopedia of law - US Code 42-USC-619

Notary on Demand - Child Travel Consent: 7 Answers to Your FAQs

Stimmel Law - Minors: Rights and Obligations