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can i move out at 17 legally

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  • #61
    Hi, I'm 16 and turn 17 in less than a month. My dad has never been around and my mom has had to watch over me and my 5 siblings for at least 8 years on her own. I understand that it can be stressful for her, but I've been dealing with a lot of shaming from her and it seems almost like she doesn't see everything i do for her and the rest of the kids. I'm always stressed out and busy caring for them as if I'm mom. I haven't been allowed to get a job or my license at all and i doubt i will be either. So my question is, if i moved in with a close friend near school, still made sure my grades were good, and got a job to support myself, could i move out now? Or would i get brough back and possibly have my friend's parents charged? I live in the Springfield area of Oregon.


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi, thanks for reaching out to NRS, we’re here to listen and to help.
      It sounds like you’re in a pretty frustrating situation. From you shared, it seems like you’ve been taking on a lot of responsibility, caring for your five siblings from a very young age yourself.
      Your siblings and your mom are very lucky to have that help, and your siblings to have someone who cares so much for their well-being. You must be very strong to take on that kind of responsibility at your age.
      It sounds like you feel that your mom doesn’t appreciate the help you’ve provided, and instead has been adding to your stress with what she says. You also indicated that you haven’t been allowed to get a job to help earn money or a license, which could make it feel like you’re being restricted from things you want to do elsewhere. It sounds like it’s gotten to the point where you feel like it would be better to get out of your current environment and into one at your friend’s where you can continue your schooling and just worry about being a 16-/17-year old.
      While we’re not legal experts, broadly speaking, while you’re under the age of legal majority – which varies by state -- your legal guardian/parent generally has the decision-making authority over where you would stay. According to the online resource SEX, ( you wouldn’t be considered an adult until age 18.
      While you going to live elsewhere without mom’s permission may not have serious legal consequences for you, it could have some for any adult with whom you’d stay: if your mom pressed the issue, there could be potential for harboring a minor charges. Again though, we’re not legal experts, so you may want to talk to a legal expert about your situation. If you need help locating one, we have a database of legal resources by state to whom we could refer you.
      You may also want to consider talking with a legal expert regarding your legal rights in Oregon, as there could be other options available to you, even up to emancipation. You mentioned that your Dad is out of the picture, but if there was another relative nearby who you could stay with, if your mom would be more open to you staying with a relative, that could be an option for you.
      Another option to possibly explore is family counseling with your mom. Sometimes counseling can help to improve the home situation and communication with kids and their parents/guardians. Or, you may also want to consider talking with your mom about how you feel about how she talks to you/treats you with a neutral 3rd party acting as a mediator to the conversation. Sometimes that can help youth and their parents to have more difficult conversations without the conversation breaking down. That’s actually a service we also offer here at NRS – a three-way conference call in which we’ll act as a mediator between you and your mom to express how you feel about the situation at home. It could be to talk about how you feel about her treatment of you, or to help you ask her about getting permission to live elsewhere.
      We hope this information has been helpful to you. If you’d like to discuss any of these options in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY, or through our online chat forums, we’re here 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Best of luck to you!

  • #62
    hi my name is caidyn, i was wondering can i move out when im 16 or 17 because my mother and me have different standards and i feel like im responsible enough to leave and i also i just can deal with this anymore


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      We are glad you are reaching out to us in your time of need because we are here to help! While we aren’t legal experts, we can share a few pieces of knowledge that may help you think of an option that works for you.

      In your message, you mentioned wanting to move out of your mother’s house. Do you think your mom would give you permission to leave home? We are asking because if you were to leave home without permission before becoming an adult (which is legally 18 in most states), your mother could involve the police and file a runaway report. While running away isn’t illegal, it is considered a status offense. That means that if she knows where you are, she could tell the police to bring you back home or press charges against anyone that takes you in (since “harboring a runaway” is considered illegal). A way to avoid police involvement is to have parental permission (such as a note, text, or email that you could show to police if need be). Another option may be to find out if the police station near you would take a runaway report for someone who is 17. Sometimes the police won’t take a report for people so close to adulthood, but that depends on the rules of that particular location. If you feel comfortable doing so, you have the option to anonymously call the non-emergency number for your local police station and ask if they would take a report. Depending on their answer, you can plan your next step.

      You also mentioned that you and your mom have different standards. Have you talked to your mom about those standards and how they make you feel? If you have tried before, what worked and what didn’t? Sometimes switching the approach may help to move the conversation along. One options that may be of benefit to you is our conference call service through our hotline (1-800-786-2929). Basically we would talk with you on the phone and then reach out to your mother. After talking with her we would join the calls and stay on the line to help keep the conversation constructive. Other options that we know of are to write a letter, or ask a trusted adult (like a family friend or relative) to talk to your mom for you.

      Like we said before, we are here to help, but we are also here to listen. If you would like to talk through any of the options we mentioned or would like to brainstorm other ideas, out hotline is available and confidential 24/7.

      Best of Luck!
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