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  • Running Away At 18 + Legality Questions

    Hello, I just have some concerns when it comes to my parents.

    (This is a lot of personal stuff; if you'd rather just skip it, I have my legal questions down below in bold.)

    We've never had a good relationship and through my life I have felt emotionally strained constantly with my parents, as live has always been rather stressful. We've never really had the same ideals, and then when I was charged with shoplifting (but not because I shoplifted; my friend did and I did not stop him and I didn't know I would get in trouble for it) my parents started threatening me and trying to publicly humiliate me which they had done before, but this time threatening to take me out of my school away from my friends and put me in a Catholic school, as well as many other threats.

    I've always felt helpless and cornered, since my mom is a counselor at a mental health clinic and uses her knowledge to continually diagnose me (with narcissistic personality disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, aggression, etc.) and she always tells me there is no way out for me, so I have to do what she says. On an occasion when my dad slapped me, she got angry because he didn't hit me on the scalp where you can't see anything. Also, she tells me that I should never try to call Child Protection Services because they will never believe my word over hers. My parents are also very controlling (or maybe that's just how I see it; I'm probably biased).

    My dad watches me study for math tests, my mom doesn't let me spend more than an average of 4 hours with someone at a given time (even though I don't have many friends, I have 1 good friend), my mom doesn't like when I am not at home or with her so she takes my keys or takes me shopping or to work with her, my mom has me volunteer weekly at places where her friends are managers and can watch me, my mom proctored 6 of my practice SAT tests, and my parents installed a gps tracker on my phone.

    Over the years, I've become sort of immune to their threats and their attempts at humiliation to the point where I just don't care what they think anymore, because I know who I am and I don't need the fear of what other people think of me influencing me. My dad's always been very pushy about grades and I have always been a good student, because I love learning, and I am going to apply to good colleges and I believe that I'll get in. Additionally, I'm a generally good kid. I've don't smoke, drink alcohol, skip school, sneak out, etc. I have never ever gotten a speeding ticket in my life. I'm beyond livid about what happened with my friend, but I suffered and will suffer the consequences and there's not much I can do about that. Also, when it comes to school, I am enrolled in an extremely intensive two year program, and have been doing well.

    However, with how everything is getting increasingly more turbulent and stressful at home, with my dad having a new job and my mom looking for houses because she wants to move, I decided I wanted to take a gap year from school, which my dad strongly opposes but was swayed when he learned it can be good on resumes. But the more I think about it, the more I just want to peel off and head out already.

    When I turn 18 (I am 17 now) I am going to try to get my paperwork together as soon as possible (likely a good couple of months) so I can move to Canada. I've done a lot of research on it, such as International Driving Permits, Temp Resident Visas, Work Permits, job offers, apartments, etc. I know it's a little impulsive of me to just want to leave, but I really think that it is what's best for me at this point. I don't think my parents are bad people, but I think that they value what they want over what I want with little concern for my mental health. I love my parents, but I can't stand to be around them.

    I just want to know if my parents can legally do anything about it, because I think my mom is the kind of person to call the police immediately. I know that since I am in the age of majority in Idaho (where we live) and have no physical disabilities or actual mental health issues, they have to wait until I am gone for 48 hours to file a missing persons report. If I were to leave Idaho for Toronto, Canada, my questions are as follows.

    If I tell someone where I am going, am I still a missing person even though my parents don't know where I am?

    Can my parents have me arrested if I take clothing and belongings (such as a laptop, books, etc.) that they bought for me?

    Is it legal for my parents to follow me or come find me and bring me back to Idaho?

    Do they still have authority over me if they have my legal papers (birth certificate, social security card, citizenship naturalization forms, etc.)?


    Thank you so much.

  • #2
    RE: Running Away At 18 + Legality Questions

    Hello there –

    Thank you for getting into touch with us here at the National Runaway Safeline on our public bulletin board, we are always here to listen and here to help in any way that we possibly can. From your detailed post, it certainly sounds like you are going through a very tough time right now dealing with everything. Seems like it’s getting very overwhelmed with everything that has been going on, especially since you’re thinking about leaving your parents to move to an entirely different country. No one deserves to be treated that way. You have every right to feel the way that you feel. It’s brave of you to reach out during your time of need. It can be very frustrating not knowing what to do or what your next step might be from this point on. It’s also great that you’re really thinking about what you want to do and researching your options.

    Like we tell a lot of our callers and/or people that email us, the laws on that specific subject of running away vary from state to state, so our advice would be call your local non-emergency police number to get more information on that. You could ask hypothetical questions that they can answer for you. Generally what typically happens in each state is if you are below the legal age of majority (18 in most states except Alabama and Nebraska [19 or upon marriage], and Mississippi [21]), your parents or legal guardian would be able to make a runaway report in the event that you do run away right away. Since it’s only considered a statues offense and not a crime to run away, the only thing that would happen is that the police will pick you up and bring you back home. This is of course if you had any interaction with the police directly or if they stopped you to ask you a few questions.

    But reading through your plans to leave the States, it sounds like you’re planning on leaving right after you turn 18 years old. So according to the information that we have provided above, you would be considered legally an adult. Which means that your parents can’t call the police and report you as a runaway, but you are right about then perhaps filing a “missing persons” report on you. Now with that it is not to our knowledge that they can force you to come home after you have left the house at 18. If you do tell someone where you happen to be or your plans, your parents can still file a missing persons if they aren’t the ones that know the information or receive that information. Also, if you do happen to take your belongings (i.e electronics, clothes, books, etc) it isn’t considered “stealing” if they aren’t paying for it any longer. So if you were to take a car that you were paying for, they could report that as stolen since it’s not your property.

    Now moving to a different county is a big task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. So it’s important that you do have all the paperwork in hand to get across the Canadian border. Seems like you have done a little research on what you have to bring, but we just want to make sure that you do have a solid plan on moving out. . Now we aren’t here to tell you want to do, so we can’t necessarily tell you how to leave. What would your overall plan be (i.e long term housing, transportation, financial stability (do you have job, could you get one), access to food/clothes, etc)? Having a solid plan about what you are planning on doing it might be a good idea so that you can think about what is reasonably possible for you to do and want isn’t.
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      Turning 18 in 5 months. Can I leave under any circumstances?

      My parents want to keep me after I turn 18 and they said that if u do we will go to court. I currently live in Arizona. I have some issues with them it isn't the healthiest. I once tried to take my life away but I didn't bc I knew it wasn't right. That's one of the reason they say I can't leave bc I'm not okay. But I am now. I overcame that phase. But anyways can I leave once I'm 18 no matter what or no?

      Comment


      • #4
        Reply: Turning 18 in 5 months. Can I leave under any circumstances

        Hello,
        Thanks for contacting the National Runaway Safeline.

        In most states the legal age to become an adult and independent of your parent or guardian is eighteen.
        Unless there is some legal issue that keeps you under your parent’s guardianship you should be able to move out on your own.
        It might be a good idea to consider a plan for survival during this time so you have a safe place to stay and some type of employment to take care of yourself.
        Does that make sense?

        You are welcome to contact 1-800-Runaway (786-2929) or www.1800Runaway.org (live chat). For information and referrals options.

        Take care,
        NRS
        Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

        National Runaway Safeline
        info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
        1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

        Tell us what you think about your experience!
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm 18 and I'm planning to runaway from my controlling parents what exactly do I need to do or say after I runaway to prevent me from going back

          Comment


          • ccsmod15
            ccsmod15 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hey there,

            Thanks so much for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We’re sorry to hear that you’re having such a difficult time with your parents. It can’t be easy feeling like you’re being controlled in your own home. Running away is a big step, so it’s great that you’re looking for advice and guidance. We’ll give you some ideas to consider below, but know that you can always reach out to one of our live liners by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929).

            First, in most parts of the United States, individuals who are 18 years old are considered legal adults. As such, they are free to leave home and live wherever they choose without their legal guardians’ permission. Your parents could not force you to return, the police would not look for you, and it would not be against the law in any way. You can call one of our liners or your local police department to confirm that your state recognizes you as a legal adult.

            It will also help to have a very clear idea about what your plan will be when you leave. The more specific your plan, the more likely you’ll be able to take care of yourself away from home. Our liners can talk through all of these questions and more with you over the phone to help you come up with a plan that works for your situation.

            Leaving home is a really big step, especially if you’re leaving a difficult or unhealthy home environment. Being sure that you have a plan to stay safe long-term, and confirming that you are a legal adult in your state and county, might be some of the best ways to ensure that you don’t have to return after you leave. Again, our liners are available 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY. Please give us a call if you’d like to talk through your plan in greater detail. Good luck!

            Best wishes,
            NRS

        • #6
          My mom is putting way too much pressure on me to do well in school graduate etc she said if I make a d she's taking my car away since I'm 18, can I just walk out and stay with someone I know? Or Will I get brought back to my mother?

          Comment


          • ccsmod6
            ccsmod6 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi,
            Thank you for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. Since you are 18, in most states you would be considered an adult. This means that you are free to leave home when you choose.

            However, the age of majority varies from state to state. If you live in a state where the age of majority is older than 18, your mother can file a runaway report and will be brought home.

            Regardless of which state you are writing from, it sounds like you are facing a lot of pressure at home. If you would like to talk about what’s going on or explore your options, we encourage to call us at 1-800-RUN-AWAY.

            We’re here to listen,
            NRS

        • #7
          Hi i am 19 years old and wanna leave my step moms house. I have lived there my whole life and had some ups and downs in the house. I want to move to Idaho with my bf and am wondering if my step mom can file anything. I live in Oregon. I am legally a adult. I wanna start making my own disitions
          Last edited by ccsmod7; 11-18-2017, 10:41 AM. Reason: identifying info

          Comment


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there,

            Thanks for reaching out for some thoughts on wanting to move away. It shows that you are being proactive about finding a solution that works for you. It’s understandably that living with a step parent can be difficult at times. We are not legal experts, but the age of majority (the age at which you are legally considered an adult) in Oregon is 18. With you being 19, you are free to make decisions for yourself including where you would like to live.

            You said that you have “had some ups and downs in the house” with your stepmom. So it sounds like there have been positives and negatives. While you are legally free to do as you please, we would like you to know we’re available at 1-800-786-2929 or through www.1800runaway.org if you would like to explore your situation further. We also offer conference calling where we act as a neutral party there to assist you and your parent through discussing your concerns.

            Again, we’re really glad that you reached out to us. It takes a lot to ask for help and you are trying to figure out your options which is really good to see. If you would like to talk further about your situation, please don’t hesitate to call or chat with us. We’re here to listen, here to help.

        • #8
          I am turning 18 soon and I'm going to leave home and live with my boyfriend since my mom doesn't let me do anything. She chooses my friends, doesn't let me leave the house, and doesn't let me text. She controls everything I do along with using my brother to spy on me and report if I talk to anyone. Isolation hurts and home is prison. Can I take my phone if I disconnect it from data and my car after she gives me the title for my 18th birthday. I'm planning on leaving a note so that she knows I'm not missing.

          Comment


          • ccsmod5
            ccsmod5 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi,
            Thanks for reaching out. We are not legal experts, but generally speaking you are able to take anything that you have purchased for yourself or that you have the title to. For more concrete information you may consider calling your local non-emergency police line to ask about the situation.

            Thank you again for reaching out. We hope this was helpful and we encourage you to reach out by phone if you need additional resources or need help figuring out your options. Our number is 1-800-786-2929 and our lines are always open. If you have a moment, we'd appreciate your feedback of our crisis services at the following link:
            https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think
            Stay safe!

        • #9
          I'm 18 and in foster care I wanna just walk out the front door but I'm not sure if I will get charged with run away and brought back to this place.can I just go without being charged?

          Comment


          • ccsmod3
            ccsmod3 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there,
            Thanks for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline and sharing a little bit about what is going. It takes a lot of courage to reach out and especially in a time where you have a really tough and complex situation. We aren’t legal experts and aren’t as familiar with the foster care system. A resource that may be helpful is http://www.lawyersforchildren.org/yo...ter-you-are-18.

            We are here for you and will support you in anyway that we can. Please feel free to call into us directly as we can talk further about your situation and find resources that are best for you in your area. Stay strong and you are not alone in this! Our number is 1-800-RUNAWAY we are open 24/7.

            -NRS

            We hope this response was helpful! We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to support youth and families. Please click the link below to fill out our survey.

            Tell us what you think about your experience!
            https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

        • #10
          I am 18, what happens if I am considered an adult in Arizona and I run away to Nebraska? would I still be considered an adult since I'm from Arizona?

          Comment


          • #11
            Hi there,

            Thank you for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. We are not legal answers so we could not be positive what laws there would be in Nebraska. You could call the local police for whatever city you plan on moving to to ask them questions and make sure you would not be considered a run away. They would be able to give you all of the information you would need to move there safely.

            Best,

            NRS
            Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

            National Runaway Safeline
            info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
            1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

            Tell us what you think about your experience!
            https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

            Comment


            • #12
              Hi I have a question if is possible report a negligence against a girl under 5 she lives with her grandparents in deplorable conditions they smoke marijuana and cigarettes inside the house they have pets inside the house and they are infected with fleas The girl has lice and her clothes smell very bad, I feel terrible for her I think, she doesn’t eat well she looks so slim. I am her neighbor and I have a good relation with her grandma and I try to speak with her about it ,but she’s so negative I don’t want problems with her so I don’t want that she knows who report it, but the girl needs help please if is possible, can l make an anonymous report ?

              Comment


              • ccsmod10
                ccsmod10 commented
                Editing a comment
                Hello,

                Thank you for reaching out to us! It is great that your neighbor has someone like you looking out for her. It sounds like you have questions regarding the anonymity of abuse and neglect reports.

                We are not legal experts at NRS, but we can help answer some questions regarding abuse and neglect reports. When making the report, they will ask for your name for their records, but the girl or grandparents will not find out who made the report. Your name will be kept anonymous. If you have any questions about abuse reports and the process of making one, Child Help, or the National Child Abuse Hotline, is a great resource to call. They can be reached at 1-800-422-4453 or childhelp.org.

                Thank you again for contacting us. You are being a helpful person in this girl’s life. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-786-2929.

                Best of luck,
                NRS

            • #13
              Im 18 and just left home and am livin with my grandparents now. I have things at home to pick up. Can my mom refuse to let me pick it up

              Comment


              • #14
                Hi there,

                Thank you for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. We are not legal experts, but because you are a legal adult, you would have the rights to your things. Your mom may also have the right to not let you into her home. The best thing you could do would be to reach out to the police to inquire about your rights within the situation.

                Best,

                NRS
                Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

                National Runaway Safeline
                info@1800runaway.org (Crisis Email)
                1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

                Tell us what you think about your experience!
                https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

                Comment


                • #15
                  I am 18, what happens if I leave my home. I have planning on a trip for the past 3 months and I know my parents will not let me go i have already asked and my mother forbid me from leaving. I have already decided to go on a trip and move out. Only th

                  Comment


                  • ccsmod10
                    ccsmod10 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Hi there,

                    Thanks for reaching out to NRS via our forum!

                    Once you turn 18 you’re considered a legal adult, in most states (except Alabama and Nebraska [19 or upon marriage], and Mississippi [21]). Being an adult in the eyes of the law means that your parents can no longer tell you where you can go or cannot go. You’re always able call your local police station to double check with them since we at NRS are not legal experts.

                    Best, NRS
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