Your Rights

Becoming a Legal Adult

What does it mean in legal terms to become an "adult"?

You have new rights associated with being independent. Just as important, you also have new responsibilities, primarily being legally and personally accountable for your actions. In Illinois, young people are considered an adult when they turn 18 (the exception is in criminal court, where a person is considered an "adult" at age 17). When you turn 18, you have all the rights of an adult except the right to drink alcoholic beverages. These include the right to:

  • Vote
  • Make a will
  • Sue in your own name
  • Make a contract (to rent an apartment, buy a car or take out a loan) in your own name
  • Get medical treatment without your parents' consent
  • Be completely independent from parental control (if no longer living in their home)
  • Apply for credit in your own name

An adult can be sued for breach of a contract or for child support, is eligible for jury duty, and if male, must register for the military draft. Parents generally no longer support children over 18; however, divorced parents must sometimes provide child support.

Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association and is a joint project with the Illinois Press Association. Its purpose is to inform citizens of their legal rights and obligations.

Download the full Becoming a Legal Adult Booklet here


Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page.

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