Welcome to Adulthood

Here’s what changes when you turn 18.

Once you turn 18, you’re legally considered an adult. Being an official grownup means you get a ton of new rights, from the ability to live on your own to the right to vote and have your say in the future of the country.

But you also have a ton of new responsibilities. (Jury duty, anyone?)

Let us help you navigate the transition into grownup land with ease.

New Rights

  • Vote in the next election
  • Marry someone you love
  • Enter into contracts like apartment leases
  • Get a credit card without asking Mom or Dad to co-sign
  • Sue someone if you feel you’ve been wronged
  • Get non-emergency medical treatment without your parent’s consent

New Responsibilites

  • If you get in trouble with the law, it’s way more serious now that you’re a grownup. When you’re a minor (the technical term for anyone under the age of 18), the court system’s goal is usually rehabilitation and treatment. With adults, the goal is preventing future crimes. For example: Say you get into a fight. As a minor, you might be put on probation or forced to take some anger-management classes. The charges for that fight would likely be erased from your record when you turn 18. But once you’re an adult, that fistfight could land you in jail. You might face criminal charges that would forever appear on your record. For the rest of your life you may have to explain that stupid fight to admissions officials, employers and even landlords. This could seriously affect your future.
  • That cool new apartment you just leased? If you can’t make rent, you’re officially on the hook for late payments. Same for that credit card.
  • Unless a court orders otherwise, your parents are not required to pay your bills or take care of you.
  • Just as you can sue people who you believe have wronged you, you can also be sued.
  • You may be called into jury duty. If you ignore your summons, you may face fines or be charged with contempt of court.
  • Males must also register with the Selective Service System when they turn 18.