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Looking for advice on living arrangements. Pennsylvania

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  • Looking for advice on living arrangements. Pennsylvania

    I live in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. I am 16 years old. The past year has been pretty hectic and I have supporting myself aside from shelter. I realize I do not fit the guidelines for emancipation because I don't have a sufficient living situation and the job I have as a buser at a restaurant wouldn't be able to provide me with financial proof for me to adequately support myself from my mother. However, I am looking for advice on how to be able to live on my own. I am wondering if there would be some type of instance where I could live on my own, even if it means I am not entitled to adult rights. All I am looking for is my own living situation because my mother can no longer support me. Ever since july of 2010 she has been getting worse. From july to august 25 she hasn't had a job because her job requires summers off. (School bus driver) Instead of finding a new job she left us broke. She would come home intoxicated (from "borrowed" money from a bartender) on a regular basis even during the day and we would run out of food stamps quickly. At the end of the summer we were 2000 in debt with our landlord. I would make financial decisions with the little money we had by persuading her to give certain amounts to rent and other necessities. She would take my advice sometimes while other times spend it drinking instead of turning on the house phone. She did not seem to care and continued her destructive path. She has gotten 3 tickets because of her drinking. She parked in a handicapped space and refused to take a breathalyser test twice and also tried to fight them against my advice because it was obvious she would lose and end up paying court fees also. I have paid 100 dollars to get her car back as well because it had been impounded. She was just recently 3000 dollars in debt until her tax form came back. We will be in debt again soon. She also has a stranger living with us now. She has known him for 3 weeks and invited him to live with us. He has been drunk on multiple occasions where I had to call the police. He would be back in the next day. He has stayed with us for around 4 to 5 moths now coming home smelling of boose regularly. There have been other instances with men but this is the most relevant. She also allows my uncle to come by even though he is a violent drunk and comes by drunk regularly and has trashed our home multiple times. I don't think she would give me permission to move out on my own, but I am not 100 percent sure. I would benefit form living on my own because I would be able to live without the stresses of living with my mother. My school work has been affected unfortunately because I would be up all night because of their drunkeness or because the police were at my home at 5 am. I try to be home as little as possible. I believe I need permission to move out legally and a co signer. I don't think I will be able to do this. Am I out of luck? Is there any other way for me to be able to live on my own? Should I get a different job with pay statements and file for emancipation or would it be futile? Should I go to a counselor and explain the situation for assistance? If so, any idea what she would say? I would not like to have to take family counseling because I have been starting to lose the love I had for her as a child, I feel it would be useless and it would be time consuming. Instead I could be working. I have expressed my concerns multiple times and she refuses to acknowledge her drinking or the neglect she is showing me. Thanks to all who reply.

  • #2
    There is no state statute for emancipation in PA. You would need to look at the requirements for your county, and not all counties will emancipate a minor. However, I think I can say pretty securely that if you are unable to show that you are capable of self-support, emancipation is a no-go.

    At 16, you cannot move out without parental permission unless you are removed by the state. Even alcoholics have the right to parent their children.

    I would agree that your first step is to talk to a counselor, but no, I have no idea what she will say.
    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.


    • #3
      Quoting How does a minor request emancipation from the court?

      Pennsylvania rules of court do not establish procedures for obtaining emancipation decrees. As noted above, however, Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas have the power to make decisions concerning emancipation. Some counties do not recognize any formal procedure for emancipation and so the minor may need to take the initiative to petition the court for emancipation. It can be helpful for a minor to have an attorney when petitioning the court for emancipation, but it is not essential.

      In a petition for emancipation a minor must state that:
      • The minor has moved out of his or her parents’ home.
      • The minor is not receiving financial support from his or her parents.
      • The minor is capable of responsibly controlling his or her own actions and does so.
      The minor should be as specific as possible about how long he or she has been living independently and how self-support is achieved.

      When the court considers the emancipation petition, the minor’s parents will be notified and will be invited to attend the hearing and speak at the hearing on their view about the child’s request for emancipation.
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