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Everything You Need to Know When Your Child Turns 18

Quick tips from celebrations to legal implications


Turning 18 is a big deal, not just from a parent's emotional perspective, but legally too. Here's a quick rundown on everything you need to know.

1. 5 Ways the Law Impacts New 18-Year-Olds

Photo by Jackie Burrell
Eighteen is a magic birthday, a milestone into adulthood accompanied by great privileges as well as serious legal implications. At 18, your teen can vote, buy a house or wed his high school sweetheart. He can also go to jail, get sued and gamble away his tuition in Vegas. Here are five major ways the law impacts new adults.

2. Selective Service, the Draft & Your Teen

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There hasn't been a military draft in the United States since the 1970s, but your son still has to register anyway. Here's the lowdown on who, why, where and how, plus a little background on the Selective Service and its link to college financial aid.

3. 5 Ways an 18th Birthday Impacts Parents

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It's natural for parents to get all sentimental when their kids turn 18, but that milestone carries profound legal implications for parents too. Want to see your 18-year-old's medical records? His grades? No can do. Here are five, often unexpected ways your child's big birthday will impact you.

4. Teens, Sex & the Law

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You know that sweet teen romance, the one between your 18-year-old child and his or her slightly younger beau? Be careful. While statutory rape and similar laws were written to protect children from abuse by older, predatory partners, teenagers can get caught in the crossfire. What's permissible in some states means jail time in others, and enforcement can range from a slap on the wrist to a decade in jail.

5. Federal Privacy Laws, Your Child's Grades & You

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Those same federal privacy laws that allowed you access to your child's school records, and the opportunity to inspect and review his transcripts and disciplinary records, morph into a locked door when your child turns 18. Here's why.

6. 18th Birthday Party Ideas

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Swirled frosting? Check. Goody bags? Got ‘em. We all know how to host a kiddie birthday party, but an 18th birthday is a big deal.Suddenly, your baby’s an adult, and it’s nice to mark the occasion with a little added oomph. Only question is, what kind of party? Here are five 18th birthday party possibilities.

7. Family Vacations After the Kids Grow Up

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Just because the kids are grown doesn't mean you have to give up family vacations. In fact, an increasing number of families with teens, college kids and 20somethings continue to vacation together, at least occasionally. So here are tips on structuring the perfect family vacation - when everyone's grown up.

8. 5 Great Vacations for Families with Older Teens and College Kids

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Teens and 20somethings are adventuresome travel companions, who enjoy a mix of outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, fine dining and cool shopping. So here's a sampling of five great vacation destinations - Montreal sightseeing, voluntourism in New Orleans, beaches, jungles and adventure - for families with young adults.
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