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Can I Move In With My Boyfriend at 16?

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  • Can I Move In With My Boyfriend at 16?

    Right now I am 15 years old and my boyfriend is 17. We really love each other. His parents aren't the nicest to him. He has a very bad relationship
    with his mom making him want to move out. And we would both love to move in together. But we wouldn't move out until next year when I'm 16 or the year after
    when I'm 17. We just want to wait until he graduates which will be next year. He is going to be getting a job soon and so will I. So we will be able to
    afford an apartment and food. Next year he'd be 18 so he wouldn't need consent from him parents. But since I will only be 16 I'm sure my parents will let
    me move out. But if I were to move out with my boyfriend will he have to have guardianship of me? And if so how would that effect marriage? Or will I be
    able to live with my boyfriend but my parents still are my guardians? Could I just use their address as my address? Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Can I Move In With My Boyfriend at 16?

    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We are here to help however we can. It sounds like your boyfriend is going through a tough time at home and is contemplating moving out. It is great that you’ve reached out and are doing your best to support him through this situation.

    We aren’t legal experts here, but we are happy to assist based on some of our experience. It seems like your biggest questions are generally around the idea of you two moving away from home and getting your own apartment. It sounds like you are both looking for jobs right now, which is a good step toward becoming financially independent. It will be good to factor in your income for basic needs like rent, food, clothing, and transportation to work and school.

    In terms of the legal age for moving out, that varies a bit by what state you live in. It is 18 years old in all states, except for Mississippi, Alabama, and Nebraska. If you don’t live in one of those three states, and you two decide to move in together after he turns 18, it will be fine on his end. On your end, it would be up to your parents to decide whether that was okay or not since they are your guardians, and you would still be a minor at that time.

    You mentioned that you thought your parents would be fine with you moving out. In that case, there would not be a need to change guardianship. However, if you decided to moved out against their wishes, they would have the option to file a Runaway Report, which would mean that if police picked you up, they would want to bring you back to your parents’ home. They could also file a Harboring a Runaway Report on your boyfriend if you moved in with him, which could result in legal trouble. There is no guarantee your parents would do those things, particularly since it sounds like they are supportive of your relationship, but those are options available to them if you left without their consent.

    If you’d like to talk further about these options or have other questions, you could also contact us via our 24/7, anonymous confidential hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786 2929) or via our chat option from 4:30pm to 11:30pm CST through our website at

    Best of luck to you,
    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 (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)
    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3
      Im 16 can i legaly leave my house without my parnets conesent amd live with my 18 year old
      boyfriend i live in Florida btw


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment

        Thanks for reaching out.

        We’re not legal experts, but I can tell you a couple of things that apply in your case:

        -Since you’re 16 and your boyfriend is 18, you’re considered to be of age of consent in Florida (you can check out more here: However,
        -You’re still considered a minor and can’t leave or go live somewhere else without your parents’ permission. They can report you to the Police as a missing or runaway youth, and if they learn where you are, the Police is required to pick you up. Also, they could charge your boyfriend (and his family, if he lives with them) for harboring a minor without parental consent, which is considered a crime.
        It would be great if you could come up with ways to still see your boyfriend without necessarily going to live with him… If instead there’s something going on at home that’s making you not feel safe and/or want to run, please consider calling us. We’re here for you, to listen and to help – and you can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY.

        We hope this response was helpful! We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum. Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to support youth and families. Please click the link below to fill out our survey.

        Tell us what you think about your experience!

        Take care,

    • #4
      hi i am 16 years old an d i wan t to move out to my boyfriends family my boyfriend age is 17. i want to move out, at my family because im tired to do things i dont want to. is that okay?


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment

        Thank you for reaching out to us during this difficult time. It sounds like thing at home are difficult are you are wanting to leave. As you might have read in our previous forum threads, we are not legal experts, but technically it’s not against the law for you to leave home without your legal guardian’s permission. In most places it’s considered a ‘status offense’. So you can't be thrown in jail or anything, you would just be brought back home or taken to the local police station to have your parents called to come get you.

        Now if your parents did file a runaway report, they can choose to press charges on those for harboring a runaway (ie. bf or neighbor). Harboring a runaway is when that party are not giving accurate information on a runaways whereabouts. That could lead to a number of different legal issues such as misdemeanor charges (fines or jail charges). From what we know it isn’t something that typically happens, but it is in place to detour individuals from helping runaway minors from not returning home or lying on a runaways behalf. So it might be a good idea to talk to your boyfriend’s family about taking that risk for you.

        Here at the National Runaway Safeline, we are always here to help you. You can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) to help you bainstorm ideas on what you might be able to do in your situation.

    • #5
      Hai, I'm 15 and I'm turning 16 this November. My boyfriend just turned 17 around a week ago and when I turn 16 I want to move in with him. He is supporting of it and so are his parents, but my parent (father) doesn't like him in the least - they actually quite hate each other. I actually live in Indiana and he lives in FL. There's no risk moving in with him (As in he's not abusive / his parents aren't, and he lives in a safe town). He's actually graduating this year as he's quite smart. In the other replies to the other comments, you said that if the parent(s) knew where you were, they could report it to the police if they wanted? Sorry, I'm not very educated in the legal area - I only know the don't steal, break in, murder, ect; the obvious ones. So how would I go about moving in with him (legally)?


      • ccsmod10
        ccsmod10 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello, and thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. While we are not legal experts, we’d be happy to share some general information about type of the situation you described.

        As you mentioned, parents of runaway children are entitled to file a runaway report. A runaway report would give police the information they need to find you and bring you home. Please note that running away does not count as a crime. In other words, while you would have to follow the police orders, you won’t be given any fines or jail time for running away. You can think of runaway reports as a police service for parents to be reunited with their children.

        However, please note that if you stay in an adults’ home, the adult can get charged for “harboring a runaway.” If you stay with your boyfriend and his parents, his parents could be charged with this misdemeanor. If your boyfriend gets his own place as an adult and you end up living with him, he could be on the hook for this misdemeanor as well.

        We understand that running away can be the best decision for some youth. That being said, it is often a complicated process that comes with many risks and considerations. If you would like to talk more about your situation, or receive additional support and resources, we encourage you to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We are here 24/7 for whenever you need us.

        Thank you for opening up about your situation, and we wish you the best of luck.

    • #6
      Hello, I’m a 16 year old female and my mom and dad share 50/50 custody towards me. They split when I was very little and they easily got into new relationships. My dad started dating a lady and I LOVE her and my mom started to date a guy that she had gotten married to...then, they got divorced and ever since I feel like my family has fallen apart bits by bit. It wasn’t until I met my current boyfriend (of 3 years) that I felt okay with myself and like nothing was wrong. After about a year of my moms divorce, she began dating again. It’s weird with my mom because she changes for her boyfriends. Whatever they’re into, she’s into. And her current boyfriend is all about going out and drinking. The other week my mom was out while I was at my boyfriends house and my brother was home alone. My brother has type 1 diabetes so it’s serious. My mom called me, at 11:30pm that night while she was out drinking saying that I needed to get home and check on my brother because her phone gave her a notification that my brothers blood sugar was the highest it’s been since he had been diagnosed. I was very upset that she would want to stay out drinking with her impulsive boyfriend instead of taking care of her sick child. I want to run away so bad because i don’t want to be in an environment with someone that does that all the time just to satisfy their boyfriend. I also don’t wanna live with my dad because he is not financially stable to support me all the time on top of paying my mom child support money every month. My boyfriends parents have said already that they would love to take me in because they see how my home life is but I’m just scared to get them in trouble...I’ve played out so many different scenarios from running away to just “disappearing” and driving away....any advice?


      • ccsmod3
        ccsmod3 commented
        Editing a comment
        It sounds like you have been going through a lot, so we are glad you are reaching out to us because we are here to help. While we aren’t legal experts, we can share a few pieces of information that may be helpful to you.

        In your message you mentioned that you have played out different scenarios of running away. As we mentioned, we aren’t legal experts, but we can tell you that running away isn’t illegal, but is considered a status offense. That means that while you may not get arrested for leaving home without your mom’s permission, your parents do have the option to involve the police and file a runaway report. With a runaway report, the police could bring you back home and may be able to press charges against anyone that takes you in (that includes your boyfriend’s parents). Telling you’re his parents this may help you and them think of options that work best for everyone.

        We mentioned that if you leave without permission then your parents could file a runaway report but there may be another option. If you were to receive parental permission (usually best to have proof in the form of texts or letter) from both parents, you may be able to avoid legal action. Would you be comfortable speaking with your mom about wanting to leave and asking for permission? Conversations like that can be difficult, but we may be able to help you think of ways to call if you were to call our number at 1-800-786-2929. We have people on our line that can help support you in whatever way you need.

        You mentioned that you don’t want to live with your dad but would like to leave your mom’s house. Have you talked to him about these feelings? If he knew your full situation he may be able to make financial adjustments to accommodate you, or at least help you think of options.

        You also mentioned your mom’s behavior and her new boyfriend’s influence on her. Unfortunately, we are only able to control our own actions. So while there isn’t a way to directly affect your mom’s behavior, telling her how her actions make you feel make help her to adjust her way of thinking. With your brother’s health as a factor, communication how her actions affect you and him may be an eye opening experience if she is open to hearing it.

        As we said before we are here to help, but we are also here to listen. If you wanted to discuss any of the options we mentioned or brainstorm other options, the hotline we mentioned is confidential and available 24/7.

        Best of luck!

    • #7
      Hi, i am 16 about to be 17 on May 25th. My whole life, we have moved around so much. I hate it and makes me really emotionally distressed. I am tired of dealing with it. My boyfriend lives with his parents, they are very kind and nice to me. I was wondering could i leave my house & go stay with them, because i really need a stable household because I’m about to be a senior. I am very stressed because I’m tired of dealing with the inconsistent lifestyle. I don’t want to get my mom in trouble. I simply want to remove myself from the situation.


      • 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. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. It is understandable that you would want to live in a stable living environment. You deserve to be in a place where you feel secure and taken care of. It sounds like the constant moving has started to take effect on your mental health. You mentioned wanting to know how you can leave home before turning 18. The easiest way to leave home is with your mother’s 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 mother’s. 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 hope this information helps.
        Best wishes,

    • #8
      If I am 16 and I live in NC can I move in with my boyfriend and his mom?


      • 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); (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,
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