1. Fill out the forms
Print or type ALL of the information asked for.
Attach these forms to your petition:
You may have to pay a fee to file your petition. If you cannot pay, you can fill out forms to ask for a fee waiver. This will not affect your emancipation.
2. Write a statement
Write a statement to the court that explains:
If you do not know where your parents or guardians live, tell the court when you last saw your parents and what you have done to find them.
If you do not want to tell your parents about the petition, tell the court ALL your reasons. You can ask the court for permission to not tell them.
Attach letters from your boss and your landlord if you want.
3. Have your forms reviewed
If your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with emancipations, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.
4. File the petition, other forms, and your statement
After you fill out all your forms and your statement:
5. Get a hearing date (if needed)
In some counties, there is a court hearing for all emancipation requests. In other counties, a hearing is needed only if the parents do not agree (consent) to the emancipation or when it is not clear to the judge if you meet all the requirements for emancipation. If the court schedules a court date for you, you will probably have your hearing within 30 days.
If the clerk does NOT give you a court hearing when you file your papers, skip to step 7.
6. Give notice (only if you got a hearing date)
If you got a hearing date, you will probably have to give notice to your parents, guardian, or other people of the time and place of the court hearing. “Giving notice” means you will have to legally let your parents know (or other person the judge orders you to give notice to) about the court hearing. This is very important. The judge may not give you emancipation if everyone does not get notice.
If you have a court hearing scheduled, skip to step 8.
7. Wait for the judge’s decision
After you file your petition, if you did not get a hearing scheduled right away, the judge has 30 days to:
If the judge makes an order (either accepting or rejecting your petition), the clerk will give you a copy of the judge’s order, stamped “Filed.”
9. Go to your court hearing (if you have one)
If you have a court hearing scheduled, make sure you go to it. Emancipation hearings vary a lot from county to county. For your hearing:
Read Going to Court for more information on how to prepare for your court hearing.
10. What to do if the judge says you are emancipated
After the judge accepts your petition, take your papers back to the court clerk’s office and file them. Do this even if you did not have a hearing. You will get copies of the Declaration of Emancipation. Make sure you get “certified copies.” These are important papers. Keep them in a safe place. You may need to show your boss, landlord, doctor, school, or anyone else who asks for your parents’ permission.
If you want the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to know that you are emancipated, fill out Emancipated Minor’s Application to California Department of Motor Vehicles (Form MC-315). Take it to the DMV with a certified copy of your Declaration of Emancipation.