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Child emancipation isn't something a child can do just because they're unhappy at home. The emancipated minor must be self-supporting and living independently. State laws on getting legally emancipated vary. The following overview explains the basics of emancipation of a minor.
A parent or guardian of a child is legally required to be responsible for the child until he or she reaches the age of majority. However, some minors wish to become legally emancipated in order to gain control of their decisions on where to live, retain the right to any money earned through a job, and make personal decisions about health without the interference of a parent or guardian.
The necessity to become emancipated only applies to children who have not yet reached the age of majority in their particular state, and states typically dictate an age of either 18 or 19 as the age of majority.
A child who is seeking to become an emancipated minor often does so because of an abusive or manipulative relationship with a parent or guardian. Reasons that the court may consider valid for the purposes of emancipation from parents include physical or emotional abuse, stealing of personal money or belongings, and the use of a child to hurt a former spouse or partner.
There are specific situations during which a minor could get emancipated without going through the process of filing paperwork with the court.
Marriage can result in child emancipation, but there are certain laws that apply to the marriage of minors. States have a minimum age that must be met before a minor can be married, and a parent or guardian must accompany the minor to the courthouse when the minor applies for a marriage license.
Military service can result in the emancipation of a minor. A minor must be 17 to enroll in the military. Some states allow a minor to do so without parental consent, and military service will result in child emancipation in this case.
A type of emancipation of minors that specifically gives minors control over one area of their lives is medical emancipation. Medical emancipation allows a minor to retain the right to make decisions about their medication treatment without parental consent. Some states allow medical emancipation for certain treatments, while others will require court emancipation.
In order to get emancipated, a minor must follow strict legal guidelines. The first step in the process is filing a petition for emancipation from parents with the court. This petition must be submitted on the proper legal form in order to be considered valid and will require the payment of an associated fee. Once a minor has submitted a petition for minor emancipation, the minor must meet with a judge in order to discuss the reasons for requesting emancipation from parents.
The judge will then decide if minor emancipation is appropriate in the situation. While an emancipated minor gains control of personal decisions, the financial responsibility for food, shelter, and other basic necessities is also gained during the process.