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infancy

n. although the popular use of the word means the early years of age up to seven, in law, it is under-age or minority. Historically this meant under 21 years, but statutes adopted in almost all states end minority and infancy at 18. An "infant" cannot file a lawsuit without a "guardian ad litem" (one-purpose guardian) acting for him/her, in most states cannot marry without parental permission, and cannot enter into a contract that is enforceable during his/her minority.

See also: minority  ad litem 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications