How Can A Minor Become Emancipated?
What Is Emancipation of a Minor?
Emancipation of a minor is the legal process to give a teenager independence from their parents or legal guardian. The teenager must be at least 16 and meet legal requirements.
Who Can Become Emancipated
Each state has different emancipation laws. If you are considering emancipation, you need to check your state laws.
For example, Connecticut emancipation laws are as follows:
The person being emancipated must be 16 or older and meet one of the following conditions:
- A member of the US armed forces on active duty
- Married (or previously married)
- Emancipation is in the best interests of you, your child, or your parents
- You are currently living away from your parents and managing your finances
How to Apply For Emancipation
Either party can file for emancipation (either you or your guardian). To file for emancipation, the party must file a JD-JM-90 form or Petition for Emancipation. The probate court will appoint a lawyer for you if you cannot afford one.
Within 30 days you will attend a hearing with a judge to discuss the emancipation petition.
What Rights Does a Teenager Have After Emancipation?
You will have additional rights and responsibilities after emancipation, including:
- Living by yourself
- Seeking medical treatment without needing parental consent
- The ability to sign contracts
- The right to sue and be sued
- Buy and sell property
- Get a marriage license
- Join the army
- Get a driver’s license and register a car
- Enroll in schools and colleges
- Pay living costs in your own place
- Medical bills
- Responsibility to fulfil a contract
- Taking care of your needs for food, shelter, and clothing
- Financial responsibility
How Do I Decide If I Should Seek Emancipation?
Emancipation is a huge decision to make. On the one hand, you can live independently, but on the other, it may cause drama amongst your family. If you are considering emancipation, you should consider if there are other ways you can seek the help you need. Could you stay with a friend or other family or in a youth shelter for a little while? Would a trusted adult be able to give you advice? Can you receive financial assistance without seeking emancipation?
If your parents have kicked you out of home or it is too dangerous for you to live with them, then you should not risk your safety by trying to live with them.
Here are some resources you may be eligible for:
- If your child lives with you and you live with a relative – Contact DSS and TFA for financial assistance and help from a social worker. Your relative may have to receive the check on your behalf.
- If you are pregnant and living with a relative – Contact TFA for assistance.
- If you are pregnant or have a child and living with someone who isn’t a relative– If the adult is applying for or is your legal guardian, you may be eligible for TFA assistance.
- If you are pregnant or have a child and living in a group home – Contact the TFA for assistance.
- If you do not live with a legal guardian or relative and are not emancipated – Unfortunately, you may not be eligible for assistance. If you are emancipated, then you may be eligible for SAGA; contact the DSS to check.
- Most teenagers would be eligible for food stamps and HUSKY medical insurance even if they are not eligible for financial assistance.
How Will My Parents React When I Request Emancipation?
You should discuss emancipation with your parents unless your situation is unsafe. If you become emancipated, it may hurt the feelings of your parents or other family members.
Until you become emancipated, your parents may call the police to find you. The police can hold you for up to 12 hours while they decide what is best for you. They may report you to Juvenile Court as well.
Can I Support Myself Once I Am Emancipated?
Your parents will no longer be legally responsible for your bills once the emancipation is final. You will need to pay for everything for yourself and any children you may have who live with you. Even after emancipation, you will have to live with an adult until you are 18 to receive financial assistance.
You may need to get a job to support yourself, even if you receives financial assistance.
Do You Want to Live With Your Family Again?
Emancipation is a permanent solution, and you need to think about if you want to live with your family/have a relationship with them in the future. If you need advice about emancipation, you should speak to a counsellor and an emancipation attorney. They will be able to offer you advice and point you towards useful resources.