Emancipation releases parents and guardians of their parental duties and gives minors the rights of an adult. A minor can get emancipated a few different ways. Below are the options open to minors who would like to be emancipated. Each state has its own set of laws and procedures; the steps below are general guidelines that are common in most states.
- Skill level:
Contact an attorney or a local Children's Services department to obtain counsel. Often times, a minor is provided legal counsel at no charge in the case of emancipation.
Petition for the right to be emancipated. Several things must be proven before a judge will accept the petition and grant the request. The age at which emancipation is possible varies by state. The typical age is between 14 and 16.
Prove financial independence from parents or legal guardians. A minor must be able to prove a legal source of income. In several cases, the judge will require the minor to provide her own medical insurance.
Provide documentation that you are not living with parents or legal guardians. In most cases, this living arrangement must be approved by the parents. Attend school or a General Education Degree program.
Enlist in the military or have a legal marriage. These are two additional options for a minor who wishes to be emancipated.
Attend court, the judge will review the petition and make a decision in the best interest of the minor.
Recognize that after the emancipation is final, the minor will be viewed as an adult in the eyes of the law.
Tips and warnings
- The law is different in each state. There are exceptions and special circumstances. Seek legal counsel to find out which emancipation laws and conditions apply.