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Please read this before posting your Emancipation question

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  • Please read this before posting your Emancipation question

    Emancipation laws are state specific. We cannot answer your question if you do not provide your state. However, there are a few things that apply regardless of what state you are in:

    Emancipation is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s designed to be hard. Judges look for reasons to deny emancipation requests and they can almost always find one. Emancipation is not and never was designed to be a means for teens to leave home. It was and is designed to provide legal protections to those minors who, through no fault of their own, found themselves living alone. According to aggregate figures I have seen, you have a less than 1% chance of succeeding in being emancipated, no matter how good a reason you may think you have.

    In no state does pregnancy emancipate you. Pregnancy provides medical emancipation, meaning that you, with the help of your doctor, can make your own decisions about your health care and that of your baby. It does NOT provide legal emancipation and, in fact, means that you have kissed what little shot at legal emancipation you may have had, goodbye. So do not ask us if you can move out and live with your boyfriend (or if your girlfriend can move out and live with you) now that you are (or your girlfriend is) pregnant. The answer is no, regardless of what state you live in.

    In all states, the FIRST requirement is that you be able to support yourself. This does not mean living with someone else and having them pay part or all of your support. It means that you, yourself, with no help from anyone, are able to pay 100% of the market rate for rent, food, clothes, utilities, transportation, medical care, insurance, school fees and supplies, and all the other incidentals of life, while simultaneously going to school and getting better than average grades. It’s all right to have a roommate (NOT your boyfriend or girlfriend) or to live with a family member or friend, but ONLY if you can prove to the satisfaction of the judge that you will be able to pay ALL your own expenses if your roommate moves out, or the family member is hit by a bus, or gets transferred to New Zealand and cannot/will not take you along, or simply throws you out. If you cannot do this, then do not post asking whether or not your reason is good enough to be emancipated, because if you cannot prove that you are capable of paying 100% the market rate of your own expenses, the answer is no. NO reason is good enough to be emancipated if you are unable to do this.

    In no state is the legal age to move out younger than 18. If you are 17 years, 364 days old or younger, you cannot move out without parental permission – not legally. Yes, there are a very few states where a poorly written law makes it difficult (not impossible) for the police to force you to come home. However, make no mistake, if your parents are determined enough to have you return, you will return. So do not post asking if you can legally move out at (any age younger than 18). The answer is no. (Do not be fooled into thinking that because you can be tried as an adult, the state recognizes you as an adult for all conditions, or that since you are above the age of consent in your state, you are free from parental control. The age of consent, the age of majority, and the age at which you can be tried as an adult are different laws applied in different situations.)

    If you are under 16, do not bother posting since you cannot be emancipated. Even in the one state that will consider emancipating a 14 year old, and the two states that will consider emancipating a 15 year old, the restrictions are so tight and it happens so seldom that it's pretty much a guarantee that it won't happen for you.

    If you are suicidal or cutting yourself, have a criminal record, are on probation, have a record of mental or emotional disability, have a history of running away, or are a ward of the state, then you cannot be emancipated, period. It doesn’t matter if you believe that your home life is causing the self-destructive behavior and that it will stop if you are allowed to be on your own. If you have any of these behaviors in your background, emancipation is not going to happen.*

    If you are the parent, there is NO state where you can emancipate your badly behaving or runaway minor child. In the very, very few cases where emancipation is granted, it is granted to minors who have a proven exceptional maturity. It is NOT available because you cannot control your child. (Do not take this as blame or saying that you have done something wrong. I know that there are instances where the parents have done everything they can and the minor still goes off the rails. It still does not make emancipation an option.) So do not post asking if you can emancipate your child in order to free yourself from legal responsibility for what he does. While I understand why you might ask that, the answer is no, in every state.

    There is no state where a minor under the age of 18 can be married without parental permission, judicial permission, or both. Even if you are pregnant. The laws have recently tightened up and even in the states where you used to be able to marry without consent if you could prove pregnancy, you cannot any more. Not without permission from the court. So do not write to us asking how you can marry the love of your life even though your parents said no. You cannot. The chances that a court will approve a marriage of minors against the will of the parents are vanishingly slim.

    There is no state where you can be emancipated without the knowledge of your parents, and it is rare indeed that you can be emancipated without their permission. Do not post asking how you can be emancipated without your parents knowing that you are undergoing the procedure; you cannot, and they WILL be asked for their thoughts on the matter.

    The following are not valid reasons for emancipation in any state:

    I am being abused*
    I am pregnant/my girlfriend is pregnant
    My parents want to control my life
    My parents and I do not get along/I fight with my parents constantly
    My parents will not let me see my boyfriend/girlfriend
    My parents are moving and I don’t want to move
    My parents are forcing me to participate in a religion I do not believe in
    My boyfriend/girlfriend is moving away/going to college out of state/being deployed
    My parent(s) is/are alcoholics/drug addicts/bi-polar/mentally disturbed*

    Do not ask us how you can be emancipated because of any of these things; it will not happen.

    You cannot be emancipated from only one parent. You either are emancipated or you are not. If this is what you are looking for, then your question is about a change of custody or guardianship, not emancipation. You will get better responses if you acknowledge this.

    If, after reading all of the above, you believe that somehow your situation is different and that the law does not apply in your case, then you can post below. (Not below, in this thread - start your own thread below this one.) Do not be surprised if you are told that the law DOES apply in your situation and referred back to this post.

    *If you are being abused, or in a destructive home life, there may be answers for you even if emancipation is not an option. If you are determined that emancipation is the only answer you want to hear, don’t waste our time. If you are willing to hear about potential solutions that do not involve emancipation, we would be glad to try to help.
    Last edited by cbg; 04-12-2010, 11:01 AM.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.
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