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Can I leave home at 17?

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  • Can I leave home at 17?

    It's a bit more complicated. I'm in a different state as my parents, 5,000 miles apart. I live with my grandma who is jobless. The only reason we get by is by food stamps, being in a housing program, and the occasional financial help from me and other relatives. She is NOT my legal guardian. I have a job and a pretty good savings account. My boyfriends parents have invited me to live with them and give me a better life. My parents (actually only my mom. According to my birth certificate I have no father) are in a rut. My 4 other siblings are with their dad who has custody of them, while my mom is living in Mexico. They actually get together on and off and when they are together they fight and put my siblings through hell. My mom doesn't have a stable job or home. I honestly do support myself. I buy my own food, pay my own phone bill, I've bought everything I own and am currently saving up for a car. I live rent free in my grandmas house because she lives rent free as well. I even pay half of her bills. I'm only 16, but will be 17 here soon. I want to know if I can live with my boyfriends family legally, since my only legal guardian (mother) cannot support me and neither can my grandmother.

  • #2
    Re: Can I leave home at 17?

    Thanks so much for reaching out with your questions and concerns and sharing a bit more of your story. It sounds like you are in a bit of a complicated situation and trying to figure out how you can legally live with your boyfriend and his family. It’s good to hear that you have some extra support from your boyfriend’s family. You mentioned that you have been living with your grandma but technically your mom is the one that has custody of you, but she is going through a tough time right now as well. Have you spoken with your mom about the possibility of moving out and living with this other family?

    It’s always a little tricky for us to answer legal questions because we are not lawyers here and not affiliated with the police. In most states the age of majority, when you are considered an adult, is 18. But 17 is always a bit tricky in how the police may deal with this situation and whether they would take a report or make a youth return home. Sometimes the best way to get the most accurate information is to just call your local police and ask a few questions about what the age of majority is in your area and if they would make a youth return home if they were 17. Ideally if you think your mom would be okay with you staying with that family that would probably be the best option. It sounds like you are supporting yourself and have a safe place to go if you do leave so that is important. If you would like to talk more about this and possibly get some helpful resources you can always reach us at our 24 hour hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We also have a live chat available from 4:30p to 11:30p CST. While we can’t make this decision for you there is always someone here to listen and here to help. Take care.
    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
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