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Emancipation of Minors - Overview
Becoming an emancipated minor means that a person usually between the ages of 14 and 18 takes legal steps to be declared an adult, with all the attendant responsibilities and expectations of an adult.
If you are a minor considering emancipation you should understand that once you are emancipated you can no longer legally depend on your parents for housing, food, school costs, or any of the expenses of growing up and leading an independent life. Once you are emancipated, your parent’s obligation to provide for, advise and guide the you is removed.
The law recognizes emancipation as a serious change that is contrary to conventional expectations and social mores. Consequently, as a minor seeking emancipation you must meet demanding legal requirements.
Even before petitioning the court, you are expected to establish a stable permanent home away from your parents and a regular source of income that is sufficient to fully support your independent life. You must exhibit a level of maturity that will satisfy the court that you are capable of making sound adult decisions.
Why it Is Important to Contact an Emancipation of Minors Attorney
As a minor, you may want to work with an attorney to prepare your case for emancipation. In addition to processing legal documents and filing your case with the court, an attorney can advise you on these issues and more:
- Age limits for becoming emancipated in your state
- The methods by which a minor can be emancipated, including marriage, enlistment in the military, medical emergency, court declaration
- Requirements for parental consent
- How to prove your parent’s unfitness if necessary
- How to establish an independent, self-supported life away from your parents
A Parent Can Object to and Defend Against the Emancipation Petition
If you are a parent whose minor child is seeking emancipation, whether you approve of it or not, you too may want the advice of a lawyer. Most states require that the parents consent to the child’s emancipation. You should fully understand your rights in this situation and the rights you will relinquish when your child is emancipated.
If in his or her attempt to become emancipated your child is claiming that you are an unfit parent, you should consult an attorney to learn what defenses you may have and how best to address your child’s claims.