Emancipation of Minors Basics

Parents have the responsibility of controlling the actions of their children and also to provide them with food, clothing, shelter and education and to generally act in the best interests of the children until they become adults. In some states minors can apply to the court seeking to be declared as adults.


Emancipation is a court process that enables a minor to be legally considered an adult for all purposes. It is also referred to as divorce from parents in some jurisdictions. A minor once emancipated can take decisions for his or her welfare without parental consent. Once a minor is emancipated, the parents are no longer responsible for the minor’s action or providing for the minor. When deciding on an emancipation application, the court will consider whether the emancipation is in the minor’s best interest, the maturity level of the minor and whether the minor is in a position to support himself/herself financially at present and also in the future.


Although an emancipated minor is considered an adult, they cannot take part in activities which is by law limited to those who have attained a particular age such as voting or buying alcohol.

Nearly half of the states including Pennsylvania and New York do not have any provision for emancipation. In these states like in other states there is a provision for automatic emancipation when the minor joins the military, gets married or attains majority.

Age Requirements for Emancipation

Generally, the minor must be below the age of majority. In most states the age of majority is 18. The emancipation laws of the state will determine the minimum age requirement. In most states it is 16 years but in California, it is 14 years.

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