State legislatures and law enforcement do what they can to protect younger children and teens from those who would try to get them to engage in sexual activity before they're ready, but at the end of the day, your rules and guidelines as a parent are the ones most likely to protect your teen.Dating rules vary from family to family -- and often, from teen to teen, depending on their maturity level. Set rules that you are willing and able to enforce.See Emancipation of Minors Basics and Parental Liability Basics for related information.

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You and your teen need to be aware of your state's laws and consider the risks inherent in teens dating outside of their age group.

Most importantly, you need to be able to come up with enforceable rules and limits that work for your family.

Most states have different age limits for different types of legal transactions, such as the ability to enter into a contract or file a lawsuit.

However, Ohio legal ages laws do not provide specific ages for a number of these.

Within the limits of your state's laws, you are the one who determines the limits of what you will or won't allow when it comes to the age difference between your teen and who you allow him or her to date. In some cases, it is better to allow your teen to date someone older or younger as long as they fully understand your state's laws and your family rules.

If you do allow your teen to date outside of his immediate age range, consider setting limits on how much time they spend alone and whether they are allowed to be behind closed doors together.

The mental, emotional and physical differences between a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old are much more significant than they are between two adults of similar age differences.

Bill Albert of the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy claims that research has repeatedly shown that teens who date someone older are more likely to engage in sexual behavior and to become pregnant.

Your teen might not like the limits you set, but they could save her from the consequences of pregnancy, disease and running afoul of your state's laws.

Love knows no bounds, but it can be impacted by the law.

While there is no statutory language specifically defining emancipation, Ohio courts will consider it on a case-by-case basis.