Legal Changes When Your Child Turns 18

When your child turns 18, this is often called the Age of Majority.

They are considered an adult, even if they have an intellectual disability. You no longer have the right to make decisions for them.  This includes choices about their education plan and services.

Parent character Paula beside a thought bubble with the text 'Education, Healthcare, Insurance, Housing, and Managing Money.'

There are many options to support your child's decision-making.

  • The most restrictive choices are continuing tutorship or interdiction, which you give you the legal right to make decisions for your adult child.
  • But there are others, that are less restrictive: these are what you should consider first. You want to give your child as much control as they can manage safely and appropriately. Less restrictive options include supported decision-making, which is a process that allows a team of supporters to help your child make life decisions that are truly best for them, while giving them control.

If your child is over 15 and has below-average mental ability, you can get a continuing tutorship.  This allows you to make legal decisions for them, even after they turn 18.

  • It's important to think about about this now!  The process of getting this status is much easier and cheaper if you do it before they turn 18.

  • There are still options after your child turns 18. (See the Decision-Making Guide described below.)

  • You can qualify for a continuing tutorship if your child has 2/3 or less of the average mental ability of a person their age.  This would be an I.Q. of 67 or less.

Here's what you can do:

  • Talk to your child's IEP team to see if the district has done an I.Q. test by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

  • Think about whether your child will need you to make some or all of their decisions after they turn 18.

  • Find the Families Helping Families in your area (225-216-7474) or contact Disability Rights Louisiana (800-960-7705).

To learn more, see our other Guide: Decision-Making for Adult ChildrenIt will describe the whole process and other choices to help your child make decisions when they turn 18.