Legal Rights of a 17-Year-Old in Louisiana

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The legal rights of a 17-year-old in Louisiana can vary depending on whether or not he is emancipated. Typically, an emancipated minor has more rights than a minor who is still under complete parental control. However, there are still certain freedoms, including the right to obtain an after-school job and the right to consent to certain medical treatments, that apply to all 17-year-olds in the state.

Emancipation

A 17-year-old living in Louisiana has the right to become emancipated. If he chooses to do so, there are different options he can take. The first, and possibly the easiest, is through a notarial act of his parent, in which the parent declares the emancipation of their child in the presence of two witnesses. Louisiana is one of the few states that offers this option, and it can take place as early as age 15. However, the surest way for a minor to protect his rights is still through judicial emancipation, which can begin at age 16.

Employment

Anyone from the age of 14 to 17 can hold an after-school or summer job in Louisiana. It is important to note that there are proper steps that must be taken in order to abide with state law. “Intention to Employ” forms need to be filled out by all parties involved (minor, parent and potential employer) and can be downloaded on the Louisiana Workforce Commission website. Parental consent is also required and hourly restrictions apply.

Contracts

Contracts created or signed by a minor (anyone under the age of 18) are voidable in the state of Louisiana. The law states that a minor may enter into a contract for necessary things such as employment. It is expected that payment will be made directly to the minor, and not his parents.

Medical Treatment

In most cases, a 17-year-old residing in the state of Louisiana may consent to medical treatment without the permission of her parents. However, she must obtain the consent of her parents where more controversial issues are concerned, such as abortion and sterilization. No medical professional in Louisiana is required by law to inform parents of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. However, Louisiana state law does allow clinicians to inform parents of these issues even if the minor objects to the release of information.

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About the Author

Based in Austin, Texas, Candy Waters has been a freelance editor and writer since 2006. Waters has contributed to several metropolitan publications including the "Chicago Sun-Times," Centerstagechicago.com and BizBash Media, among others. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Grand Valley State University.