Almost every teenager wants to move out and escape their parents’ control at some point during those crazy teen years. A quick Google search reveals that if you are emancipated from your parents they no longer have control over you and your decisions. To a desperate kid, this sounds pretty good.
But legal emancipation – the term for releasing a child from the custody and control of their parents – is unlikely, unless you need it for a very specific reason. And hating your parents is not considered a good reason.
Emancipation happens automatically when you turn 18. For some 16 and 17 year olds, it can happen sooner, but only if a judge – and both parents – signs off on it. Emancipation is appropriate in only a few situations. For example, if you are living separate from your parents and are having trouble getting a landlord to lease an apartment to you because you are a minor, emancipation might be an option.
If a child is emancipated, it means that the parents no longer have the obligation to support them. And it means that parents are no longer entitled to be notified or give approval for things like entering contracts, medical treatment, working, etc. It’s not something to be taken lightly.
The biggest hurdle is getting the parents to sign off on it. If that happens, in order to be emancipated, you’ll have to go to court. You have to prove that you are “mature,” which is pretty much up to the judge. Witnesses, a stable living situation, a plan for your future and a good reason for needing the emancipation order, will all work in your favor. You have to show that you can live separately from your parents or guardian and that you can manage your own affairs (although some emancipation orders include obligations from the parents, such as financial support).
It takes a couple of months once the petition for emancipation is filed with the court. A minor needs someone to file on their behalf, and the parents or guardians must be notified. A teenager can’t become emancipated without their parents’ approval. Likewise, parents cannot emancipate their teenager against the child’s wishes.
Unfortunately, fighting with your parents is part of growing up. In most cases, you’re stuck with them until you turn 18.
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