When you are below the age of eighteen, you are considered as a child and, therefore, there are certain things that you cannot do. For instance, you cannot live alone, you cannot do make any legal decisions without representation and you cannot do away with parental authority.
However, as soon as you turn eighteen, and as long as you have good mental health and are a law abiding citizen, article 113 of Nº32/2016 of 28/08/2016 the law governing persons and families says that you are “fully qualified for all acts involving civil life.”
There is an allowance for children who are below eighteen to be emancipated. This means that they become independent of their parents or guardians.
In order for a child to be emancipated, article 114 of the law governing persons and family says that he/she must be at least sixteen years. Even then, the application is not made by the child but by the people whom the law deems competent.
If a child’s parents are both alive, they both have to apply for his/her emancipation. If only one parent is alive, then he/she can make the application. Other persons who are considered competent to make an application for the emancipation of a child include adoptive parents, guardians, and child’s rights organizations. A child who is sixteen can apply on his/her own if he/she doesn’t have parents or guardians.
According to article 115 of the law governing persons and family, the emancipation procedure starts with a written declaration which is submitted to the civil registrar. The civil registrar has to prove that the grounds for seeking emancipation are valid before entering the declaration in the margin of the birth record or guardianship record depending on who has submitted it.
When a child becomes emancipated, they are allowed to act in their own right. However, article 116 of the law governing persons and family says that there are certain things that they may still not be allowed to do considering their age. Getting married is one of those things.
An emancipated child may be allowed to act on his/her own. Otherwise, article 117 of the law governing persons and family says that a child needs to be represented by his/her parents or any person with parental authority. He/she can also be represented by children’s rights organisations.
If a child has not been given the legal authority to act on his/her own, any act that he/she performs is not considered legal.
Article 118 of the law governing persons and family, however, provides exceptions under which a child below eighteen can act on their own. It says: “a minor having attained sixteen (16) years of age may alone enter into an agreement relating to his/her employment, exercise of his/her art or occupation or any other activity useful to him/her.”