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16 Year old in California and I'm terrified

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  • ccsmod0
    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 at home with your family. 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.
    It sounds like you are interested in emancipation. We are not legal experts, but we can help you get a general sense of how emancipation works. Our general understanding is some states offer formal emancipation statutes while others do not unfortunately. Laws vary depending on your location, but in many states a minor can petition the court for emancipation to take responsibility for their own care before they turn 18. Generally speaking, courts are wary about granting emancipation. In most cases, you would have to prove in court that you have an income and can care for yourself financially, and that you are able to live separately from your parents. It also helps to be in good standing at school. The court will also factor in the mental and physical welfare of your parents in order to establish your best interest. Usually your legal guardian would have to agree to this in court. Once you are emancipated, you can legally choose where you live, but you might still find that you cannot sign a lease or build credit until you turn 18. The emancipation process can take several months or up to a year, and may cost money in the form of court fees and other expenses. Usually, the best way to learn about emancipation in your state is to contact a lawyer. You may also find information at your county family court. We can look up legal aid resources that may be able to help you with the process.
    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,

    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:

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    Guest started a topic 16 Year old in California and I'm terrified

    16 Year old in California and I'm terrified

    Hi I'm a 16 year old girl in the state of California, in an extremely financially unstable family, along with an abusive, bipolar father and mother who doesn't work and has little education. I love my mom but she can be manic and emotionally abusive herself. My older brother is also lazy, aggressive, and unstable himself. Each week seems to be worse and worse, and I don't think I can handle it. They've fought and we have lived our lives afraid of my father since I was born. However, I know that there's no evidence of physical abuse and it would be too hard to prove emotional/verbal abuse in court. I'm beginning to consider running away, but I'm also scared of leaving my mom alone.
    At the same time however, I'm just desperate to live my own life, because my entire family is full of issues that makes me feel hopeless and trapped. I don't want to die. I don't know how the hell I'm supposed to graduate in a year because I will have no familial or financial support, and I can't stand to live here at home. I also have no other family to go to. I know emancipation is an option but I'm afraid of what my family would do.

    How can I run away? How can i make it so that they can't find me? How can I be employed ? I have so many more questions.
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