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A person who has reached the age of majority. This age is usually 18, but may be 17 in criminal cases or 21 in other cases. An adult is legally permitted to enter a contract, do business, or conduct any other activity without permission or countersignature by a parent or guardian


One who has gained the age of majority, usually 18 or 21 depending on the state. Sometimes, younger people can take legal steps to remove the “disabilities of nonage,” after which they will be treated as legal adults even though under the requisite age. Only adults have the legal capacity to enter into contracts or sell property. Minors may own real estate, but, because of the inability to enter contracts, they cannot effectively manage it, obtain a mortgage, or sell the property. If such actions should prove necessary, the child's legal guardian will usually have to ask a court for permission for the proposed action.The court will then appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child's interests, in case the guardian has a conflict of interest or clouded judgment.

References in periodicals archive ?
Traditionally, marriage was a milestone of adulthood.
Emerging Adulthood and Offending: An Overview First discussed by Jeffrey Arnett in 1994, emerging adulthood is a developmental stage that occurs between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five.
Once adulthood is reached, it becomes a choice whether or not to maintain the relationship.
But having a psychiatric diagnosis or a close call dramatically raised the odds that adulthood would have rough patches.
5 times more likely to have had suicidal thoughts in adulthood, compared with the participants who had not been bullied or were perpetrators.
It was concluded that non-breastfed individuals had a greater risk of depression in adulthood.
Although childhood overweight and obesity frequently persist into adulthood, some children lose weight, often during adolescence, and become nonobese adults.
It seems to me that the term "coming-of-age" can apply to two distinctly different stages--that from childhood to adolescence and then that from adolescence to young adulthood (or "bildungsroman").
When they reached 45, they filled in another questionnaire on the amount and kind of pain they had experienced in adulthood.
This prospective longitudinal study examines the antecedents of adolescent mothers' transition into adulthood and their attainment of multiple adult statuses in their early 30s in a nonclinical sample.
Calcium and dairy intake: longitudinal trends during the transition to young adulthood and correlates of calcium intake.