Emancipation affects the relationship between the minor child and his/her parents/legal guardians. It can be a very important tool, but minors should give careful thought before moving ahead.
In family law cases, emancipation of a minor (also called “divorce from parents”) refers to a court process through which a minor can become legally recognized as an independent adult.
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Emancipation means your legal guardians are no longer responsible for providing shelter, food, and clothing. Becoming emancipated comes with responsibilities and liabilities of being an adult.
If you’re considering becoming an emancipated minor, there are several legal and financial steps. It’s important to get educated about the law and how it will affect your daily life. Seeking advice from an attorney can be beneficial.
What is the Emancipation Process
According to California Courts, eligibility for emancipation can vary between states, but usually minors can obtain emancipation papers by:
- Getting Married: In most states, minors automatically achieve emancipation once they get married. There are state requirements you must comply with and parental consent is often required.
- Joining the Military: Minors can become emancipated by joining the United States Armed Forces. Because the military requires a high diploma or GED, most minors are 17 or 18 before they become emancipated through enlistment.
- Obtaining Court’s Permission: This is the most common way minors seek emancipation. The minor needs to be 14-16 years old (depending on the state) and needs to prove that being emancipated from their parents is in their best interest.
For a judge to award emancipation of a minor there are things that need to be proven to the court:
- Minor seeking emancipation must be at least 14 years of age.
- Capability of handling You will need to create a budget.
- A legal way of making money must be presented to the judge.
- Minor must prove to the court that emancipation would be beneficial.
- Parents or legal gaurdians must inform the court that they don’t mind if the minor moves out.
How to Get Emancipated
The process varies from state-to-state but the court procedure for filing an emancipation petition typically looks the same.
- Petition: The petition must be filed by the minor or the attorney representing the minor. Usually, the petition includes explanations of why minor is seeking emancipation.
- Notification of Parents: In most states, minors must notify their parents/legal guardians that a petition has been filed or explain to the court why they do not want to inform them.
- Hearing: In most cases, the court will schedule a hearing where the judge will hear evidence and ask questions.
- Declaration of Emancipation: If the courts decide that emancipation should be ordered, a Declaration of Emancipation will be issued.
Emancipation from parents at 18 does not occur. An individual is considered an adult (also referred to as “age of maturity”) once they are 18 years of age.
There are circumstances in which becoming emancipated from one’s parents makes sense, but it’s not an easy process. Before embarking on the emancipation process, you should consider meeting with a family law attorney for legal help.