Emancipation of a minor is a legal mechanism that allows the child to be free from the control of his/her parents or guardians. Emancipation is called Removal of Disabilities of Minorities. Once a minor is emancipated they will have the same “power” that an adult would have such as, signing a lease to an apartment and entering into a contract. Keep in mind certain restrictions such as purchasing alcohol/cigarettes or voting would remain in place.
State Family Code indicates that when a minor child may petition the court to have the disability of minority removed. To be eligible, the minor child must be:
1. A resident of the state;
2. 17 years of age, or at least 16 years of age and living separate and apart from the minor’s parents, managing conservator, or guardian;( Minors who are under the age of 16 do not qualify to apply for emancipation. No exceptions. This includes minors under the age of 16 who are pregnant.)
3. self-supporting and managing their own financial affairs. (self-supporting means the minor is supporting his or herself, not relying on another person to support them)
The eligible minor must file a Petition for Removal of Disabilities which will ask the Judge to sign an Order to remove their disabilities. Keep in mind, a minor who is petitioning the court to recognize them as an adult will be responsible for all fees associated with the filing.
The Petition For Removal of Disabilities must state:
1. the name, age, and place of residence of the child;
2. the name and place of residence of each living parent and/or managing conservator and/or guardian;
3. the reasons why the minor child is seeking the removal and why the court should grant it; and
4. the purposes for which removal is requested.
In addition, a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the minor child must verify the petition. If a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the minor child is unavailable or their whereabouts are unknown then the amicus attorney or attorney ad litem will verify the petition. The amicus attorney or attorney ad litem is appointed by the court to represent the interests of the minor child at the hearing before the Judge. The minor child will also be responsible for the payment of the services of the amicus attorney or attorney ad litem. Prices will vary and could become expensive based on the amount of work he/she is required to do.
If you or anyone you know has questions pertaining to family law or wishes to have a free 30-minute consultation, please contact a skilled child custody lawyer at Arlington TX trusts with experience handling all types of family law cases including divorce, custody, adoptions, and child support.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into family law practice.