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  • Legal help

    Hello I am 17 and may possibly be pregnant. I have been living independently from my parents (biological mother and stepfather). Though they did not actually give up full custody or even joint custody of me, they did kick me out and allow my “guardian” (close family member) P.O.A of medical and educational, I have been living with them for four almost five years. My parents do want me to come back but I do not want to go back because of what happened over there. My “guardian” also does not want me to live with them anymore. Since I have technically been living independently from my parents, would I be able to file for emancipation and leave my guardian, or convince my guardian to let me stay a few months more until I am 18 so that I can move out as a legal adult?

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for contacting us at the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you are in a really difficult situation so we are glad that you reached out. Unfortunately we are not legal experts, but can we can speak generally and say that you would have a few options. Emancipation would be an option, but depending on what state you're in, it can be a lengthy and costly process, and possibly you could turn 18 and be legally an adult before then. Depending on how long it will be until you turn 18, it could still be a good action and we could help you with looking at that option. If you give us a call at 1-800-786-2929 we could provide general information and possibly provide youth legal aid numbers.

    Another option would be looking into how your county handles runaway reports. If you leave while still 17, your parents could file a runaway report and you could be returned home. There could also be legal consequences for whomever you stay with for what is called harboring a minor. One thing you can do is reach out to your local police to inquire how they handle runaway reports for 17 year olds. Some cities and departments treat them differently because a 17 year old is so close to becoming a legal adult. The way to get the most accurate information would be to call your local police non-emergency number and anonymously inquire about their practices. Let us know if you need help finding this number.

    Another option would be looking into having custody transferred to your guardian. You could reach out to Child Help at 1-800-422-4453 to ask questions about this possibility or to ask if there are any other options you may have surrounding custody specific to your situation.

    Good luck, and let us know how we can best help,

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

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