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Moving out/running away?

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  • Moving out/running away?

    Hi, I've wanted to move out for a while now and have thought about it quite a bit. I had planned on going to college out of state once I graduated but those plans never fell through. I turned 17 in May and graduated high school as well. I do have a job and could get another job if needed quite easily. I do plan on attending college, but don't want to live with my parents anymore. My dad recently passed away so living with him isn't an option. I've always lived with my mother and her husband, but I have never gotten along with my stepdad. We recently moved back and things are getting really bad again. My mom is giving me more freedom but the moment my stepdad knows about it, he puts me down and "grounds" me for ridiculous things. I want to move out and could live with my boyfriend if needed, or my sister who lives in the same town. I just want to know the legal aspects of it? I don't want to get emancipated because I love my mom and don't want to cut myself off from her completely, but I don't want to live under their roof anymore. Would it be illegal if I stayed the night with my boyfriend or left for less than 24 hours without telling them? I am more than capable of paying for my own clothes, food, and house if needed. What should/can I do?

  • #2
    Re: Moving out/running away?

    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’re sorry to hear about the passing of your father. Losing a parent is a difficult time for many. It sounds like things at home are tense for you right now especially with your stepfather which seems to be making things even more challenging for you. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. We are not legal experts but generally 18 is the set age a youth typically can leave home. If you left without permission and refused to come home then your legal guardian could file you as a runaway. Running away is not illegal, however, every state varies on their runaway and curfew laws.

    If you would like to talk more in detail and obtain some information and resources that may help, please call or chat. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email or bulletin to offer assistance.

    We hope to hear from you soon.

    Be safe,
    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!


    • #3
      i want to move in with my boyfriend and im 16 he is in ohio is that wrong to just pack and leave


      • ccsmod7
        ccsmod7 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there, thanks for reaching out today. Sounds like you are wanting to move in with your boyfriend. Here at NRS we truly want to inform you and support you so you can make the decision that is best for you.

        18 years old is generally the age that an individual may leave home without permission from their parent or legal guardian. We are not legal experts here but we can speak in general terms. If you are under 18 and leave home without permission, your parent/guardian may file a runaway report with the police. What actions the police take once you are filed as a runaway can vary a lot from state to state and even city to city so we cannot predict exactly what would happen in your case. Generally speaking, if you encounter a police officer while reported as a runaway, you will likely be returned home. Another thing to consider is that while running away is not a crime, a legal adult who allows you to stay with them may be putting themselves at risk for being charged with harboring a runaway. One way to find out the laws in your area is to call your local police and ask what their policies are regarding runaway youth.

        Please do not hesitate to call or chat if you have questions, need resources, or need to talk. We can explore your situation, go over all your options, and come up with a plan and resources to deal with your situation over the phone or on live chat.

        We are looking forward to hearing from you soon, and wish you the best of luck.

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