Emancipation_of_minors

Emancipation of minors

Emancipation of minors is a legal mechanism by which a child is freed from control by their parent(s)/guardian(s), and the parent(s)/guardian(s) is/are freed from any and all responsibility toward the child. Until an emancipation is granted by a court, a minor is still subject to the rules of their parent(s)/guardian(s).

In most countries of the world, adolescents below the legal Age of Majority (adulthood) may be emancipated in some manner: through marriage, pregnancy, economic self-sufficiency, educational degree/diploma, military service, or obtaining medical conditions in a form of disease: AIDS, HPV, STD.

In some cases, parental consent is needed to achieve the "emancipated" status. In some cases, court permission is necessary. Protocols vary by jurisdiction.

Emancipation in the United States of America

In the United States, a person is a minor (and therefore under the control of their parent(s)/guardian(s)) until he or she attains the Age of Majority (18 years in most states), at which point he or she is an adult. However, in special circumstances, a minor can be freed from control by his or her guardian before turning 18. In most states, the three circumstances in which a minor becomes emancipated are: (1) enlisting in the military (requires parent/guardian consent), (2) marrying (requires parent/guardian consent), (3) obtaining a court order from a judge (does not require parent/guardian consent).

What an emancipated minor is legally able to do depends heavily on state law. Many states, for example New York , grant emancipated minors no additional rights over unemancipated minors except the rights to personal control over property, finances and residency.

The exact laws and protocols for obtaining emancipation vary from state to state. In most states, the minor must file a petition with the family court in his/her jurisdiction, formally requesting emancipation and citing reasons why it is in his/her best interest to be emancipated. He/she must prove that he/she can support himself/herself financially. Many states require that the minor have been living separate from his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) for a period of time; however, that requires the consent of the parent(s)/guardian(s) in order to not classify simply as "running away".

Emancipations are rarely granted, because of the subjectivity and narrowness of the definition of "best interest". On one end of the spectrum are minors who have been victims of abuse; in most cases, the state's department of child services is notified and the child is placed in foster care. On the other end of the spectrum are minors who are seeking emancipation for reasons such as not being pleased with their parents'/guardians' rules. In those cases, the emancipation will most likely be denied and the minor will be sent back home with the parent/guardian.

In some states, free legal aid is available to minors seeking emancipation, through children's law centers. This can be a valuable resource for minors trying to create a convincing emancipation petition.

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