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17 Years Old - Running away to live with another parent

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  • 17 Years Old - Running away to live with another parent

    I'm 17 years and 5 months old and I wanted to know about any legal repercussions of running away from my father's house in Virginia to live with my mother in Pennsylvania. I do have means of transportation and I would be supported by my mother. Is there anything that would get her in any legal trouble?
    I lived with my mother until about four or five years ago when I willingly moved in with my father and stepmother to try to build a relationship with him. For the first year, things were alright, but after I was called to court again and asked where I wanted to live, I said I wanted to stay with my father. Shortly after this, things started getting worse in my fathers house. It was as though their facade had dropped. There began to be a lot more yelling and harsh tempers and harsher punishments. After about a year, I asked my dad if he would let me move back in with my mother and he flat-out refused. Later, I told him how miserable I was in this house and he once again refused to let me move back with my mother. He began putting stipulations on it, saying that if I improved my grades, he would let me move back. I worked hard to improve my grades, but he said they still weren't good enough, and once again wouldn't let me leave. It's been this way since about 2009. I would rather leave now because things are really stressing me out here and they make me feel like a burden to them and my friends and family are scared that it's affecting my mental health. I have had suicidal thoughts and had instances of self-harm that I've never had until I moved in with my father. If I were to wait until I'm 18 to leave, I would have already started the school year in Virginia and have to transfer schools almost into the second quarter. I would like to know if there's anything I can do legally besides resorting to running away and what legal repercussions it would bring on if I were to run away.
    Somewhere I've heard that if you're 17 and 4-6 months old, you can legally leave, but I'm not sure how accurate or reliable that information is.
    Any help with this is really appreciated

  • #2
    Re: 17 Years Old - Running away to live with another parent


    Thanks for reaching out to us. It sounds like you're going through a rough time. We'll try and help out as best as we can.

    We're sorry to hear that your father didn't hold up his end of the deal and essentially isn't willing to compromise with you. That's got to be frustrating. Does your mom know about these things he says but never ends up agreeing to?

    To answer your questions, the legal age of majority in most states is 18. That means that if you leave before you turn 18, your parent can file a runaway report with the police department. That might make it difficult for you to be at your mom's place.

    We're not entirely sure about the details of the law you stated you heard before but it's probably worth looking into. The best way to find out what your exact right are would be to speak with your local police department. Some questions to consider asking would be:

    -what's the age of majority in my area?
    -at what age can I move out without getting into legal trouble?
    -can my father file a runaway report on my if I'm only going to my mom's house?

    Sounds like that would cover most of your questions. Does that sound about right?

    We'd like to continue explore your options. If you're willing and able, please call us at 1800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We're anonymous, confidential and available 24/7. We're here to listen, here to help.

    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
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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