Selected State Minor Emancipation Laws

Alabama

Under Alabama law, minors who are 18 years old can apply for emancipation before the complete 19 years of age which is the age of majority. The petition must be filed by the parents. However if there are no parents or if the minor is an abandoned minor or the living parent is insane, the minor can file the petition. The court will decide if the emancipation is in the minor’s best interest.

California

Under California law, there is a provision for automatic emancipation when the minor gets married, joins the armed forces or was declared emancipated previously by a court in California. The minimum age for applying for emancipation is 14. The other requirements include the minor must be living separately from his or her parents, must have the ability to look after himself/herself and must not receive any income from a criminal or illegal activity.

An emancipated minor can enter into contracts, consent to medical treatments, buy, sell and lease real estate, prepare a will, live alone, attend school and get a job. The court can terminate the emancipation if there is a change in the minor’s situation. In such cases, the parents will once again be responsible for the minor.

Florida

For emancipation, the minor must explain how he/she intends to look after himself/herself – food, clothing, shelter, health care and other necessities and why he/she is seeking emancipation. The minor must also provide a statement of income, habits, character and the mental ability for business. The petition must state if the minor is a party to any legal action in Florida or other states. Parents will receive a notice of the emancipation proceeding.

The court may require additional evidence to decide if the emancipation is in the best interest of the minor. An emancipated minor will have all rights and obligations of an adult.

Illinois

The minor must demonstrate the ability to manage his/her own affairs and the ability to live independently. The emancipation order can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of the minor. The court will refuse emancipation if the parents object to the emancipation. Sometimes the court will only grant partial emancipation. When the court passes an emancipation order, it will also determine the rights and obligations of the minor in addition to the right to enter into contracts.

The minimum age for seeking emancipation is 16 years. The minor must be a resident of Illinois and explain why he or she is seeking emancipation. The minor must demonstrate that he or she is capable of living alone.

Michigan

Under Michigan law, emancipation results in the termination of the parents’ rights to the control, custody, earnings and services of the minor. The court may dismiss the emancipation petition if any parent objects to the emancipation. Michigan law also has provisions for automatic emancipation. In Michigan a minor is automatically emancipated when the minor gets married, joins the armed forces, reaches the age of majority or is in police custody and requires medical aid. In the last case, the emancipation is temporary and terminates when the medical care is completed.

The emancipation petition must be filed by the minor. The minor must demonstrate that he or she is financially capable of looking after himself/herself and does not need any support from the state. The minor must also demonstrate the ability to look after his or her personal needs. An adult who is familiar with the minor must provide a statement as to why the emancipation is in the minor’s best interest. The court can investigate to determine if the emancipation is indeed in the best interest of the minor. An emancipated minor will have all the rights of an adult expect those which are age restricted such as buying alcohol or voting. The court can terminate the emancipation if there is a change in the minor’s situation. In such cases, the parents will once again be responsible for the minor.

North Carolina

The minimum age for emancipation in North Carolina is 16. The court will order emancipation if it is in the best interest of the minor. To determine the best interest of the minor, the court will consider the ability of the minor to handle adult responsibilities as well as the parents’ need for the minor’s support. An emancipated minor will have all the rights of an adult and the parents will no longer be required to support the minor.

Oregon

The minimum age for emancipation in Oregon is 16. The court will order emancipation if it is in the best interest of the minor. The minor must demonstrate ability to handle adult responsibilities as well as support himself/herself. An emancipated minor will have all the rights of an adult.

Vermont

The minimum age for emancipation in Vermont is 16. Vermont law has provisions for automatic emancipation of the minor incase of marriage of the minor or the minor joining the armed forces. To be eligible for emancipation, the minor must living independent of his/her parents and have finances to take care of himself/herself. The minor must have a high school diploma or must be working toward one and must not be a ward of the corrections or social services department.

West Virginia

The minimum age for emancipation in West Virginia is 16. The minor must demonstrate the ability to take decisions about his/her welfare and manage his/her financial and physical needs. An emancipated minor will have all the rights of an adult.

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