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Can a 16 year old in New Jersey choose to live away from their parents?

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  • Can a 16 year old in New Jersey choose to live away from their parents?

    My best friend and I are both 16. Her family relationships are very stressful and her mom refuses to acknowledge her mental illness and get her treatment. She’s constantly put under way too much pressure to be exactly how they want her to be and no matter how hard she tries to communicate with her mom, she will blatantly say that she doesn’t care about how she feels and that she’s just being “dramatic.” Shes been suffering with all of this for a long time and has expressed many times wanting to give up and run away. If she were to instead stay at my house with my mom and I, what would the legal repercussions be like in New Jersey? Could we get in trouble? Would she have to apply for emancipation or alternate guardianship or something?

  • #2
    Hello There,
    Thank you for contacting The National Runaway Safeline we are here to help and here to listen. We want to thank you for reaching out on behalf of your friend, it shows you care and are supportive. It sounds like your friend is going through a difficult time right now. Because your friend is a minor, if she were to leave home without permission she could be considered as a runaway. If the police found her they would most likely bring her back home. One option you both could consider is to ask her parents for permission to live with you guys. If she is granted permission and is still attending school, then it would be legal for her to stay with you guys. Another option is your friend can file for emancipation by going to the court office in her city. Keep in mind emancipation may cost a lot and can take 6 months to a year.
    We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation if you have any other questions or would like to explore your options further please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to provide support and listen. We wish you the 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)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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