What happens when your child turns 18

That changes as your child grows up

Finally 18! Your child has actually grown up on this birthday. However, coming of age not only brings the desired rights with it, but also some obligations. You can read what these are here.

When does the age of majority apply?

In Germany, the age of majority is reached on the age of 18. From that day on you are considered an adult. That means: From now on the young person is responsible for his own actions, the parents are no longer his legal representatives.
But what are the specific consequences? We have compiled the most important changes for you below.

From the age of 18 my child can vote. But can it also be chosen?

Generally, yes. With the completion of the 18th year of life, if you are a German citizen, you have the right to vote in this country, so you can vote in future. At the same time, the right to stand as a candidate also applies: In future, your child can also run for the city council, state parliament or Bundestag. Exceptions: In Bremen this applies to the state level from 16 years of age, in Hesse, however, only from 21 years of age. And there is another special case: to be elected Federal President, you have to be at least 40 years old.

Can my child freely dispose of their money when they reach the age of majority?

When you reach the age of 18, you not only reach the age of majority, but also the so-called full legal capacity. So your child can independently conclude purchase or rental contracts, take out a loan, open an account or apply for a credit card. However, it will only get this at most financial institutions if it can prove a regular income.
By the way: As parents, godparents or grandmother did you have one at an earlier point in time? Savings account or similar created in the name of the child who is now of legal age, then this passes into his possession at the age of majority. And should your child receive a scholarship or a pension, such payments can be transferred to their account in the future. However, it may then also have to pay tax on these.

Will my child still be entitled to maintenance after reaching the age of majority?

Under certain circumstances yes: If your child is still attending school or is in training or studying, he or she is still entitled to if the parents are separated or divorced Alimony payments. The same applies if the child cannot support himself - be it because he is disabled or is currently unemployed. However, the claims of underage siblings who still live at home take precedence.
The child who is now of legal age can certainly request that the maintenance be transferred to his or her account and no longer to that of the parent with whom he grew up. However, it then has to pay tax on these payments. And: If the parent is still living with one of the parents, the parent is entirely entitled to demand a certain contribution towards expenses.

Do we still get child benefit for our adult child?

As a rule, the state only pays child benefit as long as they have not reached the age of majority. But there are certain ones here too Special regulations: If the child is still in school or in vocational training, if it is studying, if it is unemployed or disabled, the parents can still receive this benefit up to the age of 25 - if the child is not more than 20 hours per week jobs. Incidentally, if the child finishes their education during the year, they are not entitled to child benefit for the whole year.
Attention: There is no longer any child benefit during military service - but it is if your child completes a voluntary social year. The state also pays child benefit if the period between two training phases does not exceed four full months - for example between finishing school and starting training.

Do you have to be of legal age to accept an inheritance?

In order to accept (or refuse) an inheritance you actually have to be of legal age in Germany. Even your own will can only be legally drawn up when you reach the age of majority.

Will my child be expelled from our health insurance when they reach the age of majority?

No - unless your child already has their own taxable income. BAföG or the apprenticeship salary are usually below this limit, but with a student part-time job it can be tricky. It is best to clarify this question directly with yours Health insurance from.

What insurance should my child take out after reaching the age of majority?

As long as your child still lives with you or has not yet completed their training or studies, they can also do so after they have reached the age of majority in your Liability, home contents or legal expenses insurance remain insured. If your child already owns their own car, however, they also need their own car liability and comprehensive insurance. Disability insurance should also be considered.

Does the Youth Protection Act only apply until you reach the age of majority?

Even if some parents do not like it: From a purely legal point of view of the Youth Protection Act, the sentence "As long as you put your feet under my table, you do this and leave that" has no basis when you come of age.
As soon as your child is 18 years old, they can theoretically go out as long as they want - and wherever they want. It is allowed to watch films with an FSK rating from the age of 18 in the cinema and to buy PC games without a rating for young people. It is also allowed to buy and drink alcohol. This does not mean that you cannot and should not continue to talk to your child if you have the feeling that they have lost their temper in one of these areas.

Can an adult just drop out of school?

Upon reaching the age of majority, a student has the right to sign references and certificates and to make apologies to themselves. In future, school mail will be addressed directly to him. As an adult, the student can decide which school he would like to attend - and in extreme cases also decide to leave it before graduation, if he has complied with compulsory schooling, which in most federal states requires nine years of schooling.

Can my child move from home once they are of legal age?

A common threat when teenagers and their parents clash: "When I'm 18, I'll move out of here right away!" And in fact, when they reach the age of majority, everyone is free to choose their place of residence and accordingly move out of home.

Can my adult child just marry like that?

If both partners are of legal age, they are also allowed to marry. However, if one of the partners is still a minor, not even the permission of the parents is sufficient - in this case the family court must agree.

Are parents still liable for damage caused by their adult child?

A clear answer: When the child reaches the age of majority, they are responsible for all damage they cause. It can now also be prosecuted under civil law. So if it is no longer included in your liability insurance, it should get its own personal liability insurance.

What happens if my adult child has done something really bad?

When you reach the age of majority, you are legally considered to be of full criminal responsibility, so you can be convicted as an adult. Until the age of 21, at least in court, one is still considered an adolescent. This means: It is at the discretion of the judge to apply juvenile or adult criminal law, depending on the type and gravity of the offense and the mental maturity of the offender. Incidentally, there is still an echo of the regulation in force in the Federal Republic of Germany up to 1975: Up until then, people did not come of age until then at the age of 21. In the former GDR, on the other hand, people had been considered an adult at the age of 18 since 1950.
Conversely, every adult also has the right to take legal action or to appoint a lawyer as a representative - he is fully capable of litigation.

Do you really only get a driver's license when you are of legal age?

The Driving license young people can already do this at the age of 17. After that, however, they are only allowed to drive in the company of an adult. As soon as they are of legal age, they are allowed to drive alone in the car. The driver's license is initially valid for two years on a trial basis. During this time there is an absolute ban on alcohol at the wheel.
In fact, motorcycling is only allowed in Germany from the age of 18 - and even then this class A driving license is only valid for two years for motorcycles with an output of up to 25 KW. If you like, you can then apply for an unlimited driving license.

Do the normal working hours apply immediately after reaching the age of majority?

Yes, the provisions of the Youth Labor Protection Act no longer apply after reaching the age of majority. It is therefore possible that your child will have 40 hour weeks, shift work and piecework as well as work on weekends and public holidays.

What changes when you come of age if a minor child already has a child?

Usually received underage mothers custody of their child upon completion of their 18th year of life. If the child's father is also of legal age, both can apply to the youth welfare office for joint custody.