Overview Minor Emancipation

A legal procedure, whereby only a child under the legal adult age of eighteen years old (In most states), a petition of emancipation is filled with a court for independence from parents or guardian, and a judge reviews the information. Philosophically, achievement of adolescent maturity occurs at different ages, underlying mental, emotional and social development. A judge can issue a decree of emancipation, provided a minor can take control of his or her own responsibilities, from a parent or guardian. This includes financial, health and any other legal responsibilities. An emancipated child has freedom from parental custody and control, plus takes on all responsibilities as an adult, includes deciding upon their education, religious practice, and medical treatment Also, no longer considered a minor but an adult, and held responsible for any legal obligations or when charged with a crime. However, being emancipated still requires obeying the legal drinking age, driving age, the legal age to vote, cannot marry without parental consent, cannot have sex with a minor, and any other laws regarding age requirements. A child becomes automatically emancipated at the age of eighteen, joining the armed forces. In some cases, when the minor is legally married, emancipation is granted. Many states have their own laws regarding minor emancipation. Some states are more liberal and have less judicial interference requirements. Important for minors to realize, petitioning a court for emancipation is not legally justified, escaping the rules of their parents, minors may disagree or dislike.

A judge decides if a minor can claim an emancipated status based upon certain criteria’s. The decision is prevalent by the minor to submit a statement explaining justifiable cause, and able to financially support themselves by living on their own, which includes stable source of income. A minor wanting the status of emancipation, based upon being married (The marriage was based upon the consent of the parents and depending upon the age of the minor, the consent of a judge was required) is dependent upon living independently of parents and being self-supportive. In some cases, emancipation is granted, based upon the fact, the minor needs to attend a particular school district, which is unattainable, if the minor is living with their parents or guardian. A minor must give notice to their parents seeking status of emancipation. Parents may legally consent or contest the emancipation.

Upon approval of emancipation, the minor receives a signed Declaration of Emancipation by a judge. Copies of this declaration is necessary to submit to employers, landlords, doctors, school officials, and anyone else, who might require parental consent. However, a court may revoke the order and notify the minor’s parents of the revocation.

Emancipation is not a permanent status. If a minor is emancipated and unable to remain financially independent, requiring returning home to their parents, for financial support. Their status of emancipation is no longer legally upheld.

Regarding health and legal issues for a minor that has been emancipated: Issue of abortion or continuation of a pregnancy is decided by the emancipated minor. Also, deciding to receive or decline any medical treatment. A minor that is declared emancipated, is required to pay fines charged for any criminal misdeeds. Also, legally can enter into a contract, lease agreement, sue someone else, be sued, make a will, buy or sell property, and apply for a work permit without needing parental consent. Also, legally can seek public or subsidized housing.

A child is not considered emancipated, when living with an adult friend or relative that does not have legal custody of the minor. The parents have given their permission to live outside of their home, providing the health and safety of the minor is not endangered. Also, during this time, parents are held responsible for their child’s welfare, and truancy from school. A minor moves away from their home of their parents or guardian, can be picked up by authorities as a runaway. The child can be placed into Children and Youth Services and declared dependent by a court. Under this situation, parents are declared by the court unable to control their minor.

Each state has distinct procedures or no laws regarding minor emancipation. In Philadelphia, the Department of Human Services handles requests for emancipation, after receiving payment for a filing fee (Telephone: 215 – 686 – 8328). Three requirements are necessary, before a judge can hear a petition for emancipation. The requirements include: Telephone screening by providing information that can verified, including age, place of residence (outside the parents home), and place of employment. A social worker has to confirm upon inspection if the living situation is satisfactory. In state of Michigan, emancipation is granted without parent’s permission, provided financial and social affairs are manageable independently. In 2005, the state of Arizona finalized emancipation of minor law. Certain criteria’s must be approved before approval of emancipation, which includes: Minor age at least sixteen years old, Arizona resident, financially self-sufficient, acknowledge in writing responsibilities, obligations and rights being emancipated, and not a ward of the court or in state’s custody. The Superior Court branch will have jurisdiction over emancipation issues. In the state of Massachusetts, the court of the Probate and Family Court of the county, resolve issues of emancipation. Also, in the same state a minor does not need to be legally emancipated from his or her parents to obtain public assistance. In the state of Maryland, a pregnant female over the age is sixteen, is considered emancipated to make the decision to receive prenatal care or an abortion. The abortion would be granted if the physician confirms the minor does not live with a parent or if the efforts to notify the parents have failed. In the state of Michigan, minors can seek information regarding emancipation at Michigan’s Calhoun County Courts homepage. In the state of Illinois, minors at least sixteen years old but less than eighteen years old, may petition a court for emancipation. The court may enter a “partial’ emancipation, which limits the emancipated child’s rights to enter into certain legal contracts. Also, the court may terminate or modify it’s ruling, anytime before the minor reaches the age of eighteen. In the state of Florida, the Supreme Court recognizes Unified Family court, as the best way to handle cases involving children and families, including cases of minor emancipation.