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17, in Colorado, not sure what to do

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  • 17, in Colorado, not sure what to do

    Im not sure what the best course of action in this situation is. I'm 17, have a job, have two different places to go, and am definitely mature enough to handle myself in the real world. I've had a lot of problems with my mother for a very long time, however its not physical abuse. She is constantly telling me that I'm not good enough, fast enough, skinny enough. It causes me emotional problems, especially when topped with school, and all the extra classes that I take. I have considered emancipation for quite a while and done rather extensive research. My biggest problem is that I do not think my emotional instability is enough to be emancipated. I feel like it could be declined. Thus, I have started looking at my other options. My biggest concern is that the family I would be staying with would be charged with harboring a runaway, and I can't work enough hours to pay for my own apartment yet. What are my options? Is emancipation an option for my situation?

  • #2
    Re: 17, in Colorado, not sure what to do

    Hi, and thank you for your post.

    Sorry to hear about the problems with your mother. It sounds like your mother puts you down which must be painful and difficult to handle, understandably leading to emotional problems. It’s good to hear that you have a job and have two different places to go.
    While we are not legal experts, we can certainly share in general terms what we are aware of. In Colorado, at age 18 you are considered an adult. This means that if you leave home without your parent’s permission at 17, they technically have the right to file a runaway report. However, 17 is often a grey area, meaning that if your mom tries to file a runaway report, the police may not accept it. It is not illegal to run away – it is considered a status offense – so if your mom does file a runaway report and the police take it, it is not a misdemeanor or felony or anything that would go on your record. If you are located or stopped by the police, they would tell you to go or bring you home. There is such a thing as harboring a runaway. In our experience, someone being charged with harboring a runaway is very, very rare. The reason it is rare is because it can be easily fought. The people who you are staying with are doing a good and caring thing by allowing you to stay. They aren’t mistreating you, but rather helping and keeping you safe.
    In your post you ask whether emancipation is an option. That is a good question. As stated earlier, we’re not legal experts here (we would be happy to provide you with low/no cost attorney’s in your city), but from experience have learned that the process to become emancipated can be a very lengthy one – meaning you might turn 18 before the emancipation becomes legal. Also, emancipation often requires parental consent, which can be a barrier.
    Hopefully this response is helpful. If not, or if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us whether by phone, chat, email or post.

    All the best,
    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)


    • #3
      I am 17 I live in Colorado. My mother and I haven't been getting along well lately. I am constantly being put down by her being reminded if everything I do wrong. There have also been physical abuse from her. One time she choked me to the point where I passed out and during this incident she had also hit my face to the point where there was several bruising. I left my house because of this and did report it to the police. No charges were pressed because according to the police there wasn't enough evidence to do so. I am currently not living at home I am at a friend's house. I was wondering if there was a way to be emancipated from my parents. Also another quick thing I understand that running away isn't illegal in Colorado but can my parents pull me from school while I'm not living with them? I've been afraid of that. If the emancipation process would take too long is there a way for me to be protected by a jurisdiction or sometimes so my parents can't bring me back home?


      • ccsmod16
        ccsmod16 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out. That sounds extremely difficult. No one deserves to me abused and treated the way you have. It also sounds like you have done allot to feel safe such as reaching out to us and the police. These are great first steps but it may also feel frustrating to not always get the results we expect.

        It sounds like you have spoken to the police about the abuse and they stated that there was not anything that they could do for you at that time. You do have the right to report any abuse (physical, mental, sexual, or neglect/abandonment) to child protective service in your state. You have rights too. You can reach out to us and we can help you over the phone at 1-800-786-2929 or with your states abuse and neglect hotline at 1-844-264-5437. We can do abuse reports of chat however our chat service is not 24/7 like our phone lines. In response to running away. Running away is considered a status offense and not a criminal offense so you are correct, however there are harboring laws which could affect those you are staying with if you felt your mother would report you missing and or press charges. Your mother may give you permission to live with another family (i.e friend or relative), but without getting an official document from the court your mother would still be legally responsible for you. Which means that she can also take away that permission at any given moment and take you back home to live with her once again.

        You did mention having thoughts of getting emancipation in order not to be returned home. We can give you some general knowledge of that process, but we are not legal experts. Those laws regarding emancipation are different in every state, so we can’t tell you exactly how it works just that you have to be 15 years or older to even file. What we know is that getting emancipated by the court is a process that does take a while and there also needs to be proof that the youth is able to support him or herself on their own. Other requirements sometime indicate that they have had to have lived independently from their parents for a certain amount of time, wishes to be free from parental control, has an acceptable plan for independent living, and be able to manage their own financial affairs. So it doesn't look like there is going to be a fast track to getting emancipated or website because it does go through the court system and you will have to wait for a judge to see you and hear your case. It might be best to reach out to a legal expert or the juvenile court in your city in order to find out more.

        Again, we are really glad you reached out to us. It takes a lot to ask for help and to figure out your options. If you would like to speak further about your situation, please reach out again. We are here to listen and here to help.
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