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Is it illegal to move out at 17 in SC?

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  • Is it illegal to move out at 17 in SC?

    My friend is in a really abusive home situation and my girlfriend (24) and I (1 would like to take her in as soon as she is legally able. Her birthday is coming up and I am wondering if there would be any serious legal issues if she moved in when she was 17.

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. We are here 24/7 to listen and to support.

    We're sorry to hear about what has been going on with your friend and want them to know that they deserve to feel safe and happy in their home. We are not legal experts, but generally speaking if they run away while they are still a minor, their parent or guardian could file a runaway report and they could be returned home. There also could be legal consequences for you and your girlfriend for what is called harboring a minor. Options you have would be to call out to the local police in their area and inquire about how the police handles runaway reports. Some treat them differently for 17 year olds because they are so close to being considered a legal adult. They could also treat it differently if they find your friend but they report abuse. The way to get the most accurate information would be to reach out to them directly. We can be reached at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) if you want to walk through this option or if you need help finding that local non-emergency number.

    They also have the right and the option to report the abuse. If there is an abuse report on file, that could also effect how them leaving could be treated. If they want to look into that they can call out to Child Help at 1-800-422-4453. They help with abuse reporting and also talking youth through their rights as minors.

    Good luck, and let us know if we can help more.

    NRS

    We hope this response was helpful! We’d love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think
    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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello. I am 17 years old and I live in Tennessee. Could I legally move to South Carolina without being forced to go back home?

      Comment


      • ccsmod9
        ccsmod9 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
        While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
        We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
        Be safe,
        NRS

    • #4
      I have alot of things going on in my life right now I no longer want to stay with my grandma i would like to move somewhere n go live with a family member my Grandma has custody of me but you wouldnt belive the stuff I go through I promise its extreme I'm not gonna write my name or anything but on my 17th birthday I'm thinking about leaving south Carolina to live with a family member every body is telling me the police can't make you go back home but like what are the police gonna do come to another state and say you need to return home they cant do that right? If I tell them I'm trying to better my self to be successful in life I'm gonna get a job n start doing stuff that would make me a better person I dont have any thing down in south Carolina plz respond asap I'll be looking but can I get introuble for running away? Could you ask someone or figure out if that would be ok I dont stay with my mom or dad my grandma has custody my whole life has been hell n I'm just ready to better my self. I turn 17 soon

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thank you for taking the time to write us here at NRS. From what you shared it sounds like home has been a significant source of stress and it has become very overwhelming. You deserve to live somewhere you feel safe and supported.

        Generally speaking, your legal guardian does have the final say in where you live until you turn 18. If you leave without permission from your grandma, she does have the option of reporting you to the police as a runaway. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. You would not get into any legal trouble, but your name would get flagged by police as a runaway. This means that if you come into contact with law enforcement, they would likely arrange for you to be returned home. Now, there is not a universal way that police handle runaway reports. In some areas, police do not consider an individual a runaway at 17. If this is the case for where your grandma is then they would not intervene to return you home. You can anonymously call the non-emergency line for the local or county police department to ask about their runaway protocol.

        If there is any abuse or neglect at home, you do have the option of reporting this to child protective services. There is an organization called Child Help that advocates for young people in abusive or unsafe situations. You can contact them at 1-800-422-4453 or go to childhelp.org to learn more about the reporting process and how a social worker might help.

        We truly want to be a support for you as you decide on your next steps. We are available 24/7 to listen and help as much as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out again by phone or chat if you would like to talk more in-depth about your situation and explore your options. You can contact us by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at www.1800runaway.org.

        Stay safe,
        NRS

    • #5
      My daughter in 17 and we live in SC. She wants to go back to NY to live with her brother and Im am fine with that but is it legal?

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello,

        Thank you for contacting us here at NRS. While we are not legal experts, we can speak generally on this. You are legally responsible for your daughter until she turns 18, however; you can consent to a safe alternative living arrangement. If you are okay with your daughter living with her brother in NY then you are able to give your permission for her to do so.

        If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out again. We are available 24/7 by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or through live chat services 1800runaway.org.

    • #6
      hey,im 17 and i live in south carolina,I want to move out of my house and live my freinds,can i do this without consent from my parents?
      Can they force me to move back home?

      Comment


      • ccsmod6
        ccsmod6 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. It is not illegal to run away. Your parent/guardian could file a runaway report on you but this would NOT mean that you would get arrested or charged with anything. It typically does mean that the police could return you home if they encountered you and that would be that. Some police can be more understanding about what is going on at your home. In our experience, police will oftentimes return the youth back to their guardian almost no matter what. Police typically do not actively search for a runaway youth. However, they will go where the parent/guardian directs them if they know where you are staying. Additionally, police can sometimes be more lenient about runaway situations the closer you are to 18. You can attempt to calmly, respectfully, and persistently deny them consent to touch you or take you anywhere, and they may give up on trying to return you home. They also may not, in which case you should comply with what they tell you to do for your safety.

        If you want to talk more specifically or in depth about your situation, please give us a call at 1-800-786-2929 or chat with us at 1800runaway.org.

        Take care,
        NRS

    • #7
      I’m 17 and wanting to move out of my moms in South Carolina to live with my dad in West Virginia. do you think they’ll bring me back to my moms?

      Comment


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time.
        Generally it is a status offence to run away and leave your mom’s without permission. Since you would be going to your dad’s house as long as he has custody it shouldn’t be an issue and police would likely allow you to stay with your dad. If however, your mom has full custody its possible police would make you go back to your moms and your dad could get harboring a runaway charges against him.
        If you have more questions we can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin for assistance. If you would like to talk more in detail and share more about how we can help specifically, please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
        We hope to hear from you soon.
        Be safe, NRS

    • #8
      They have shared custody. Would they still make me come home?

      Comment


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for reaching back out, if your parents have shared custody it is likely that police will let you stay with your dad until there is a court order siding with your mom. It might be good to confirm this with a legal expert in your state, or with your father who should have access to custody paperwork to see if there are other potential issues.
        We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin for assistance. If you would like to talk more in detail and share more about how we can help specifically, please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
        We hope to hear from you soon.
        Be safe, NRS

    • #9
      Hi, I'm a 16 year old in South Carolina. My girlfriend is 17 and turns 18 in about 7 months. She suffers a verbally abusive relationship from her parents and I fear her physical safety as well (though they've never physically harmed her). She's constantly called a disappointment and is even told crude things such as she's "going to die alone." Her and I both have a job in grocery and are saving a lot of money and we both have our driver's licenses. Her grades are excellent however they're beginning to go down due to the excessive stress put on her at home. She's given too many responsibilities such as taking care of her ill grandma, dog, brother, is forced to go to bed at 10, and is always busy no matter what while her parents work most of the time. She's not even allowed to have a phone anymore because they think I'm the issue. I've done nothing wrong yet her parents hate me but my family loves her and would gladly take her in. A lot of research has showed me that her moving out would likely end up in her also being forced back home or worst comes to worst they file a restraining order on me. Could she or myself possibly defend the situation to police with whats going on? I know that she would do much better in school and would mentally start to climb up again and be happier, but there's little that I can do about the neglect and verbal abuse she faces. Her mental state is gradually declining even leading to self deprivating thoughts and acts yet when she talks to her mom about moving out or being unhappy with the situation she gets laughed at or told its just a phase. They don't believe in anxiety or any following disorders like that. They've given her verbal consent to leave but I have no proof besides what I've been told. What do I do and can she move in with me 7 months from being 18? Would police or a family court see these reasons as valid? And lastly would her life or my parents lived be negatively impacted by this (harboring a minor/runaway and running away in general)?

      Comment


      • ccsmod0
        ccsmod0 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It seems there is a lot that your girlfriend is faced with right now and you’re feeling like her leaving is one of her only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws. You can pass along the following information to her.
        While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
        The easiest way to leave home is with your parents' permission. We understand that might be challenging, however, maybe there’s another family member, relative, or a family friend who could help to communicate how you’re feeling to your parents. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. Lastly, you can also look into emancipation options. In most states you need to be at least 16 to be considered and demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and independently. Emancipation often can be a lengthy process and may even cost some money for court fees. We would be happy to look into legal resources if that’s something you are considering.
        We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button). If you would like to look into further emotional support options, you can text with a crisis worker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness 24/7 by texting "NAMI" to 741741.
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
        Be safe,
        NRS

    • #10
      Hi, I’m 16 right now but I’m turning 17 in a couple of months. I’ve lived in a very toxic household for many years my mother is very abusive mentally and physically. I’ve heard at the age of 17 it’s legal for me to move out... if so I would be moving in with my grandma that lives in North Carolina. Is there any issues with this?

      Comment


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thank you for taking the time to write us here at NRS and we appreciate you sharing your situation with us. It sounds like you’re quite overwhelmed by things at home right now and you mentioned being harmed. We’re sorry you’re going through this. You don't deserve to be hurt in any way.

        While we are not legal experts, we can speak generally on this. 18 is usually the age you are able to leave home without permission. If you leave home before turning 18, your parents/legal guardian can report you as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means your parents can ask police to return you home if you are found. There is not a universal way that police respond to runaway reports. Runaway laws can vary by state and even by county and it is true that in some areas you would not be forced home at 17. You can call the local police department for the most specific information regarding this and how they might handle a runaway report in your situation.

        You may also be able to report any mistreatment to child protective services. Child Help USA 1-800-422-4453 www.childhelp.org is an organization that helps protect minors from being harmed. They can tell you more about how CPS could respond to your situation. If you ever need assistance calling out to CPS to make an abuse or neglect report please call is at 1-800-RUNAWAY.

        If you would like to talk more in detail please chat soon through our website www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button) if you are unable to call in. We unfortunately cannot give advice as we are non-directive. You know your situation best

        We hope to hear from you soon.

        Be safe,
        NRS

    • #11
      Hi, I’m 17 and will be turning 18 later on this year. I’m in South Carolina and I’ve been dating my 19 year old boyfriend for a while and we both have goals in life and know exactly what we want. He’s still living with his parents as well as I am, but soon to be moving out and I want to move in with him. I don’t like living with my mom and her husband. I’m not happy here at all even though I am living comfortably, but mentally, I hate it here. I never wanted to move here and of course I never had a say so. I’ve read over what you’ve told other people and know that it is not illegal to leave my home at my age. I just don’t want to be considered as a runaway when I feel like I have every right to do what I want to do and what I want for me and not for my mom. I have money of my own because I work and I believe I am capable of paying for what is needed for myself.

      Comment


      • #12
        Hello, Thank you so much for contacting the National Runaway Safeline. We’re glad you reached out and are happy to help as much as we can. It sounds like you are in a tough situation, and you deserve to feel like you have the right to make decisions for yourself and your own happiness. You mentioned how you have seen that it is generally legal for youth aged 17 to move out. This isn’t necessarily true as it largely depends on the state in which you live. In the state of South Carolina, one must be 18 in order to legally move out without parent’s permission. What is also important to note here is that lot of these laws are not always enforced equally, and a police department might decide to not pursue runaways if they are close to the legal adult age of 18. This all does depend on a case-by-case basis, though, and we cannot make the determination whether or not you will be reported as a runaway and pursued to be returned home. Given this information, it might be helpful to reach out to a local legal aid for additional information about your specific situation and what the options might be. It sounds like you have a plan for where you would go and how you would survive if you were to move out, but it could also be helpful to look at options for making your home life more manageable, should you find that it might not be possible to move out until you are 18. If you would like help locating resources, such as a legal aid, or if you would like to discuss your situation more in depth, feel free to reach out to us again, either by using our live online crisis chat via our website, or by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). Best of luck!
        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)
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

        Comment


        • #13
          I live in SC and Im 17 and want to move out against my parents will. I want to move in with my 20 year old boyfriend after I graduate in five months. would I be forced to come home? And would he be charged with anything?

          Comment


          • ccsmod0
            ccsmod0 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi there,
            Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on. It seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
            While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. That is something you might want to speak with him about. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
            The easiest way to leave home is with your parents' permission. We understand that might be challenging, however, maybe there’s another family member, relative, or a family friend who could help to communicate how you’re feeling to your parents. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. Lastly, you can also look into emancipation options. In most states you need to be at least 16 to be considered and demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and independently. Emancipation often can be a lengthy process and may even cost some money for court fees. We would be happy to look into legal resources if that’s something you are considering.
            We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
            Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button). If you would like to look into further emotional support options, you can text with a crisis worker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness 24/7 by texting "NAMI" to 741741.
            If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
            Be safe,
            NRS

        • #14
          I live in SC and im 17 and want to move in with my boyfriend and his family. i used to live at my dads but then got taken away and lived with my aunt, then my mother. I did not enjoy either house because the stress they put on me is too much and get upset with me for small things. i don’t really have my own room or things just a few. would my boyfriends family get in trouble if i went to their house? would they force me to come home? (note: dads house was mentally abusive and mom hadn’t taken care of me in years)

          Comment


          • ccsmod9
            ccsmod9 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you for contacting NRS,
            We are sorry to hear so much has go on at home. It is truly unfair that your previous guardians have been neglectful and not able to provide you with a space that you can feel comfortable in. You mentioned wanting to live with your boyfriend's parents. Some information to note is that if you were to leave home your current guardian has the right to file a runaway report with the police. Once that is made they would be on the lookout for you and if they find you they would bring you back home. Sometimes states have a law called harboring a runaway which can be the type fo trouble you are mentioning. So to some degree if you were to stay with them there might be a possibility of that. It might be a good idea to maybe ask your guardian to let you leave. If they give consent it would be fine but it does require them to say yes. Again they can always take away consent if they wnated but its worth exploring.
            Another thing to keep in mind is if you are being mistreated you can always report that abuse to the proper authorities. We can always report alongside you if you wish. The way you would do that is by contacting us at (800-786-2929) or online through our chat at 1800runaway.org. Please know that your safety is always a concern and we look forward to helping as best we can.
            We truly want to be a support for you as you decide on your next steps. We are available 24/7 to listen and help as much as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out again by phone or chat if you would like to talk more in-depth about your situation and explore your options. You can contact us by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at www.1800runaway.org.

            Stay safe,
            NRS
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