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Self-emancipation of Minors

Self-emancipation of Minors

What is self-emancipation?

A minor may obtain a court order declaring him or her to be self-emancipated. A self-emancipated minor has most of the legal rights and duties of an adult. The parents of a self-emancipated minor have no further duty to support the minor.

Who can seek self-emancipation?

A minor who has left his or her parents’ home and has become self-sufficient may seek self-emancipation.

How does a minor become self-emancipated?

A minor is never automatically self-emancipated, even if the minor has left the parents’ home and has become self-sufficient. A minor must obtain a court order declaring him or her to be self-emancipated. Therefore, the minor must file an application for self-emancipation in the appropriate court. The court will hold a hearing, admit evidence, and grant or deny the application.

What factors will a court consider in deciding whether to declare a minor self-emancipated?

The law of self-emancipation varies by state. However, courts generally consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant an application for self-emancipation:

* Self-sufficiency. In order to be self-emancipated, the minor must prove self-sufficiency, i.e., the ability to support himself or herself. The court may require the minor to present documentary evidence, such as paychecks and bills.

* Parental Consent. A court may be more likely to declare self-emancipation if the minor’s parents consent to the emancipation.

* Maturity and Responsibility. A court will determine whether the minor possesses the maturity and responsibility to be emancipated. The court will make the determination based on the testimony of the minor and the parents and all other relevant evidence.

* Age. State laws impose minimum age requirements on self-emancipated minors. For example, a minor who is under 17 will not be eligible for self-emancipation in some states.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.