Is a person considered an adult at 18 or once they graduate high school?

UPDATED: Oct 6, 2013

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Is a person considered an adult at 18 or once they graduate high school?

When a girl was 16 her mom died from cancer; when she was 17 her dad died from leukemia. She was left to live with the neighbor who is now being completely unreasonable and parenting with an iron fist; the girl’s parents let her be completely independent. The neighbor claims that she has to do whatever she says until the girl graduates from high school. The girl will be 18 around 4 months before she graduates.

Asked on October 6, 2013 under Estate Planning, California


Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Completion of high school has no legal impact on her rights whatsoever.  Unless a court appointed the neighbor as guardian or they are state-appointed foster parents, they have no legal right to control her now.  She could petition the court to be recognized as an emancipated minor and thus legally be on her own now, but if it is only a four month wait until she is 18, it probably would take that long or longer to go through a court action and not be worth either the cost or effort.

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