Just curious, I thought of a few unique situations and was wondering what age the person would be considered in them.


The person is in LA (3 hours behind NYC) for a temporary vacation and signing a contract for a loan from their local credit union via the internet. The credit union is in NYC and the person was born and resides there. The credit union doesn’t have any reason to suspect that he’s not in NYC.

It’s 2 hours and 15 minutes before the person’s birthday in LA, but he’s been alive for 18 years and 45 minutes (his birthday is a few milliseconds past midnight).

Would the contract be enforceable? Why?


What if the person decides to move to LA and needs a new DL. Would his date of birth be updated? This assumes he askes the clerk at the DMV.


Let’s assume our guy ages 3 years. He goes to a city in Nevada (during winter) to celebrate his 21st birthday. He goes to a bar on the exact line between PST and MST. He’s in PST and the bartender is in MST. He shows his ID (showing original his original EST birthdate) and asks for a drink.

Would it be legal for the bartender to give him a drink? I would think so, as the bartender would think he’s 21.


If he couldn’t get a drink, our guy walks around the bar and stands on the time line, cutting him in half (cut is parallel to his chest).

Would he be able to get a drink now?

Would it just be safer never to do business/drink/etc. on the day before your important milestone birthdays?

  • 1
    A Vietnam era draftee born at 12:xx AM EDST on Day Y, argued that he was born at 11:xx PM EST on Day (Y-1), and thus had a much better draft lottery result...
    – DJohnM
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 21:12
  • LA is 3 hours behind NYC, not Four.
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:03
  • @hszmv Whoops! I'll fix that. The premise of the question still stands, though.
    – Ben Aubin
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 17:15
  • 1
    "It's six o'clock somewhere!" ;-) Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


For purposes of time zones, a person is considered legally the age at the moment of their birthday regardless of time of birth (a person born on the East Coast on 1/8/88 is considered 30 at Midnight on the East Coast even though he was born at 1430 (2:30 pm).

In situation one, the bank would still consider him a legal adult because he filed the paperwork on Eastern Standard Time (EST, not West Coast time, according to their time stamps. Most time dependent systems, especially financial and military also operate on an international agreed time (usually Greenwich Mean Time AKA Zulu Time which is 4-5 hours ahead of EST depending on Daylight Savings Time) which means it's tomorrow much sooner for purposes of time stamps. Even still, there are no banks with loan offices open at Midnight so the paperwork will be considered "filed" at opening time, which is usually 9 P.M.

In question 2, his DOB is still 1/8/88 as they do not ask for a specific hour, minute, second for your Birthdate. For legal purposes, he is 18 at midnight of the time zone he does age dependent business in.

In question 3, while these establishments do exist and like to advertise the divide for funsies (I'm aware of a restruant on the EST/CST divide where the restrooms are one hour behind the dining rooms because that's where the cut is), In truth legally the establishment resides in one of two states and thus officially run on the time of the state they reside in for this purpose. Most states operate within exactly one time zone (Though 12 States do have portions in a second time zone). Having said this, the scenario as suggested by you is not going to occure ever. California and Nevada both operate on PST. Doesn't matter which side of the border you get your drink on.

For question 4, see above. I would actually think that in a case where a bar is bisected by the Dateline, the owner wishing to make a quick buck would establish it's address on the eastern portion of the Dateline, draw the divide, and make anyone 21 on the eastern side stand on side of the establishment for the drink. This is largely for fun and not for legal purposes... he technically can be served west of the time zone line, at the earliest midnight moment. This is just restaurant gimmick (bonus points if the divide leaves the eastern time zone comically small and thus, forces the guy to stand out by dint of the fact he's standing here. At this point it's all about marketing and having a good time with time.).

  • 1
    In Q1, the issue of what the bank believes / considers is irrelevant to contract voidability. Setting aside the issue of banks being closed at midnight, the issue is whether a person who is a few hours from majority is still entitled to void his contracts (this calls for actual citations of case law).
    – user6726
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:37
  • @user6726: Yeah, I just side stepped the issue of a bank getting to the point in negotiation with a 17 year old to a degree that a contract was singable the instant he/she turned 18 to answer the time question. I assumed we magically got this far with a legal nod of approval.
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:41
  • GMT is always 5 hours later than EST. It is 4 hours later than EDT. Standard and Daylight are Different.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 0:18

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