What Are My Rights When I Turn 18 in Illinois?


Legally, becoming an adult entails being accountable for your own actions. You must act responsibly and make your own decisions once you officially become an adult. In the state of Illinois, the age 18 marks the beginning of young adult life. Except for alcohol consumption, Illinois residents have all the rights of adults once they turn 18.

Voting Rights

  • At the age of 18, you become eligible to vote if you are a U.S. citizen and a resident of Illinois for at least 30 days. If you have been a resident of the state for less than 30 days, you can still vote where you lived before. Where relocation is within the state, an 18-year-old can vote in the new precinct after presenting an affidavit obtained through the State Board of Elections, according to the Illinois State Bar Association. It is worth noting that you are excluded from such rights if you are in jail or on parole for a felony conviction.

Military Service

  • You can register for the military draft if you are a male citizen or a male alien living in the U.S. within 30 days of your 18th birthday. You can also register up to 120 days before turning 18 under what is known as Selective Service registration. Enlisting in the armed forces does not require your parents' consent when you turn 18 in Illinois. Failure to register with the selective service could lead to a conviction of a federal crime, resulting up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.


  • The types of contracts 18-year-olds have the right to enter include employment contracts, loans for school or cars, installment contracts to purchase household goods and apartment leases. You also have the right to sign an insurance policy, a marriage contract or a contract for credit. These rights come with responsibility. At this age, you could be sued for failing to honor a contract. You are also eligible to file for bankruptcy if you debt becomes unsustainable.

Marriage, Divorce and Children

  • You don't need your parents' consent when you turn 18 and you want to marry. A marriage license is obtained through the county clerk after paying a fee. The process requires you to confirm your age by presenting a government issued identification with your name and date of birth. You can also file for a divorce if your marriage is not working.


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