Age of Discretion Law and Legal Definition

The age of discretion is defined by religious law and is typically around the age of 7. For example, in the Catholic faith, the age of discretion is defined in the Code of Canon Law as it relates to the age of confirmation. Canon 891 of the new code says confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age, or there is danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister a grave cause suggests otherwise.''

In family law matters,the age of discretion may apply in various state statutes, which vary by state. Often, the age of discretion is a determination made under a judge's discretion, rather than being defined as a specific age. For example, a Virginia statute regarding a child's participation in termination of parental rights states:

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, residual parental rights shall not be terminated if it is established that the child, if he is fourteen years of age or older or otherwise of an age of discretion as determined by the court, objects to such termination.