What If You Could Be a Kid Forever?

Sadly, you can’t. Here’s what changes when you turn 18.

If you’re reading this story, chances are you’re already 18 or will turn 18 soon.

It’s a big birthday; some would even say it’s the biggest birthday of your life. Because when you turn 18 you are officially … drum roll, please … a grownup!

Being an official grownup means you now have a ton of new rights (vote, baby vote!) as well as a ton of new responsibilities (who’s stoked to pay all their own bills?).

Here’s an overview of the major changes heading your way

YOUR RIGHTS

You’re 18! Now you can:

Vote in the next election. Or maybe you want to run for office.

Get married

Enter into contracts like apartment leases

Get a credit card without asking your parents to co-sign

Sue someone if you feel you’ve been wronged

Get non-emergency medical treatment without your parent’s consent

 

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

But now that you’re an adult, you have way more responsibilities, including:

That cool new credit card you just signed up for? If you can’t make your minimum monthly payment, it’s your problem to solve, not mom’s or dad’s. Here’s a good place to start to learn more about the importance of financial literacy.

If you get in trouble with the law as an adult, it’s waaaaay more serious. The adult and juvenile justice systems have totally different goals. When you’re a minor (the technical term for anyone younger than 18), the court’s goal is usually rehabilitation and treatment. But after you turn 18, the justice system’s goal is to prevent future crimes. And sometime the system thinks the best way to prevent future crimes is to put the people who commit them in jail.

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.

Now that you’re all grown up, 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 for the selective service when they turn 18.


Want to learn more about how turning 18 affects your legal status? Check out the Florida Bar app Just Adulting.

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