Should I Get Emancipated as a Minor?

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Family Lawyer Bloomington, IL

Parents or legal guardians are legally responsible for providing for all the needs of their children including food, clothing, safety, and education until their children are considered adults (generally at 18 years old). However, many states allow children to petition the court to become emancipated from their parents.

What is emancipation?

Emancipation is when a minor asks the court to become legally responsible for themselves.  This means you take on all financial responsibility and are no longer under the care of your parents or legal guardians. You are granted “adult status” and are able to sign legal documents and get medical care without parental permission.

If you are considering becoming emancipated from your parents, please reach out to a family lawyer who can help you decide if emancipation is your best option and walk you through the legal process of becoming emancipated.

Reasons for getting emancipated

While many teenagers dream about having their own life away from their parents’ control, living on your own is a lot of hard work and responsibility. It’s a decision that should not be made lightly.

That being said, there are many legitimate reasons for wanting to become emancipated.

  • If you are living in a situation where you are being abused or neglected or if you are morally against things going on in your home, then you may want to consider emancipation.  
  • If you are still a minor, but are legally married, emancipation may be a good option for you and your spouse.
  • If you have been kicked out of your house and have no place to go, emancipation may be a good solution.

Every situation is unique. If you feel you should petition the court for emancipation, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, your finances. There are a lot of expenses that come with being an adult and the court will want to know how you are going to support yourself without the help of your parents. You will need a place to live and your own health insurance. You’ll have to buy groceries, cook your own meals, and pay for all of your expenses like your internet, cable, and phone bill. If you don’t have sufficient savings, you will need to get a job.  

Second, legal responsibilities. You will be legally responsible for anything you sign which means while you’ll be able to sign yourself out of school, you are now able to be sued in court and be financially responsible for the outcome.

Common ways to become emancipated

The most common way to become emancipated without parental permission is through a court order. The process usually works like this:

  1. You file a declaration of emancipation in court (including paying your state’s filing fee).
  2. You must notify your parents or legal guardian of your decision.
  3. The court schedules a hearing.
  4. The judge will examine all the evidence and ask any questions he/she may have and determine if you should be emancipated.
  5. If you are emancipated your will receive a declaration of emancipation. This should be given to any schools, landlords, or doctors who ask for any proof that you are legally responsible for yourself.

There are a few other ways to become emancipated without going through the court system, however they are very rare exceptions or they require parental permission. For example, in Pennsylvania, if you are married as a minor you are automatically emancipated. You can also join the military at 17, however this requires a parent’s permission.

Emancipation is a difficult topic. It’s a huge decision with huge ramifications if achieved. If you feel like emancipation is the right choice for you, or still have questions about becoming emancipated, please reach out to a family lawyer Bloomington, IL relies on at Pioletti & Pioletti. They will walk you through this process and answer any questions you may have about your specific situation.