Emancipation

Emancipation is a legal way for children to become adults before they are 18. Once a child is emancipated, his or her parents do not have custody or control of him or her anymore. Emancipation is usually forever. But the court can cancel the emancipation if the minor asking for the emancipation lies to the court or is no longer able to support himself or herself.

If you are emancipated, you can do some things without your parent’s permission, like:

  • Get medical care;
  • Apply for a work permit;
  • Sign up for school or college; and
  • Live where you want to.

If you are emancipated, you will give up the right to be supported by your parents.

Even if you are emancipated:

  • You must go to school;
  • You cannot get married without your parent’s permission; and
  • You will go to juvenile court if you break the law.

Note: If you have a legal guardian, all of the information in this section about parents applies to your legal guardian and your case, too.

There are 3 ways to get emancipated:

  1. Get married
    You will need permission from your parents and the court.
  2. Join the armed forces
    You need permission from your parents, and the armed forces must accept you.
  3. Get a declaration of emancipation from a judge
    To get a declaration of emancipation, you have to prove ALL of these things:
    • You are at least 14 years old.
    • You do not want to live with your parents. Your parents do not mind if you move out.
    • You can handle your own money.
    • You have a legal way to make money.
    • Emancipation would be good for you.

If you do not want to live with your parents, you do not necessarily have to get emancipated. You can:

  • Get counseling or mediation with your parents;
  • Go to live with another adult (like an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or family friend);
  • Get help from public or private agencies; or
  • Make an agreement with your parents to live somewhere else.

You can learn a lot more about emancipation by reading Legal Services for Children’s Emancipation Manual. This manual has a lot of answers about emancipation for teenagers.

Read the Emancipation Pamphlet (Form MC-301) for more information about the court process.

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