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Can I leave my home at 16 without my parents' consent?

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  • I am 15 and turning 16 in two days, my mom's bf is controlling and we moved in with him a year ago but we hardly knew him. Hes said hurtful things about my family and continues to control what I do. I don't act out and get good grades. I have to beg just to leave the house for an hour or 2. He keeps taking away more of my privacy. I want to move in with my other family members in another state but my mom won't let me. Can I leave and move out to with my family? Or will they get in trouble for taking me?

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there, thanks for reaching out. Sounds like a super hard situation moving in with your mom's boyfriend and having him be so controlling.
      We are not legal experts but in general, 18 is the age of majority/adulthood in most states. Leaving without permission before that age, your parent can file a runaway report with police. It is not a crime to runaway, it is called a status offense, meaning you can't do it because of your age. Even though running away is not a crime, an adult who helps you may be at risk of harboring a runaway. It is a misdemeanor and is not a common charge, but is is a possibility.
      We offer conference calling if you think having a third party talk with you and your mom to mediate the conversation could be helpful. You can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-786-2929. You may also consider asking some of those out-of-state family members to help you talk with your mom. Sometimes having that neutral person can help alleviate some tension.

      We are so glad you reached out! We are 24/7 by phone and our website's chat.

      Be safe and happy early birthday!

      -NRS

  • Hi I am 16 years old and I'm wondering if I'd be able to leave home and move out, things are happening here at !y house like it an argument broke out that my dad would but me and the last time he told me to get a pair of clothes and get out the house and that he disowns me what we that means and said he doesn't care anymore and my mom is telling me to just go and leave the house if I don't like it here and I'm just basically stuck but she keeps threatening me by saying she'll call the cops on me and that she'll take me to juvenile so i don't know what to do
    Last edited by ccsmod11; 07-14-2019, 04:31 PM. Reason: removed name

    Comment


    • ccsmod11
      ccsmod11 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there! Thanks for reaching out to us. We’re sorry to hear that you’re having a rough time at home. It sounds like a really difficult and stressful situation. We here to listen and help the best way we can.

      You wanted to know if you can move out. We aren’t legal experts but we can give you some general information so you can decide what’s best for you. If you leave home without your parents’ permission, that would be considered running away and your parents could file a runaway report with the police. Running away isn’t a crime so you can’t be arrested for that alone. However if the police find you, in most cases they will be obligated to return you to your parents. If the people that you are staying with know your situation, they could be charged with harboring a runaway, which is a misdemeanor crime.

      There might be some other options besides running away. If your parents are willing to let you stay with a nearby friend or relative, you could print a temporary guardianship form from the internet. All parties would have to sign in and have it sealed by a notary. That way you can leave and your parents couldn’t claim you ran away. Another option would be a transitional living place (TLP) if your parents agree to it. If you wanted with this option, we could look up some local TLP’s in your area.

      We’re sorry that you are facing such a tough situation at home. Reaching out and asking for help is a big step to help yourself. We’re here to listen and help the best way we can. If you want to explore these options or see if there are other options available, you can call us 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY or chat online with us at www.1800runaway.org. Hope this helps! Stay strong.

  • I’m 16 I live in Florida I don’t get along with my step mom or her kids and my dad doesn’t stick up for me I have to stick up for myself my dad just lets my step mom do whatever.I have a job I’ll be 17.I feel very alone an nobody is ever asking me if I’m okay I feel very suicidal living here like every time I turn around an look in the mirror I want to hurt myself I lost my mother at a very young age and I miss her so much.My friends parents are very nice and are willing to let me stay with them am I allowed to move in with them without parental consent?My parents won’t let me get emancipated so I was wondering if I am allowed to leave and move in with my friends parents?I will still be attending school.Over here when I’m with my dad and my step mom and her kids at this house I’ve fallen into a deep depression and I just want out of it.I hurt so badly over here.

    Comment


    • ccsmod11
      ccsmod11 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks so much for reaching out to NRS. It sounds like you have been through so much, and it’s understandable that you’d be feeling hurt and overwhelmed and looking for a way out of that environment.
      No one deserves to struggle with the pain of suicidal thoughts. Have you ever talked to anyone about how you’ve been feeling? Sometimes just being able to get things off your chest and tell someone can make a big difference. One idea could be making an appointment with a counselor at school. At NRS, we can also help you find free or low-cost mental health resources like therapists in your area if you give us a call at 1-800-786-2929. If you ever feel like you might act on your thoughts about suicide or harming yourself, you can call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

      We’re not legal experts, but until you turn 18 in Florida, you need your parents’ or guardians’ permission to leave home. If you went to live with your friends without your dad and stepmom’s permission, they could report you as a runaway and the police could bring you home. To become emancipated, you would need to go before a judge and prove that you are attending school and are also financially independent (able to pay for food, housing, and medical care without anyone else’s help). This is usually pretty difficult, but you can get more details by calling the Florida Legal Aid hotline at 1-800-625-2257.

      Another option to consider might be talking to your parents about how you’ve been feeling, and ways that they could make living at home better for you. Sometimes asking another adult—like a counselor, a friend’s parent, or another family member -- to help talk to your parents with you can make them more likely to listen. At NRS, we offer a conference calling service where a trained volunteer helps mediate a call between a youth and their parents to make sure the conversation stays respectful and everyone has a chance to be heard. You can learn more by calling us at 1-800-786-2929 any time.

      Best, NRS

  • I’m 16 in less then 2 months and I NEED to get away from my mom she is emotionally and physically abusive ive tried EVERYTHING to fix our relationship and it’s gon broken and not to be fixed.... I wanna know if she can sign over her rights to me and I be own my own considered an adult and able to leave the house “with permission “ ? As an adult

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you for contacting The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through an incredibly difficult time right now. Abuse is never okay and we are sorry you are having to deal with that. If you would like to make an abuse report you can call Child Help at 1800-422-4453. If you ever feel in immediate danger please call 911.
      We are not legal experts but do have some information on the laws. If your mother would like to give up her parental rights you would most likely need to file for emancipation. You can find out about emancipation by calling your local court house and requesting more information. If you give us a call we can provide you with some legal aid resources that could also help with the emancipation process.
      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 more please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support tp you. We wish you the best of luck, stay strong!
      NRS

  • I’m a 15 year old girl,hating my life;living with my verbal abusive parents along with struggling to maintain their vision as a good kid and their expectations.What they see me now is what they hate,it’s draining me,along the way I’ve developed depression and anxiety,which led me to cut.I want to leave everything behind and have a better life for myself without them.But I’m waiting til I’m 16 which is in two months,to save enough money.I plan to run off on my bike,cause honestly I don’t care about driving,and leave for good.I live in a small town in Texas .Will I get stoped and will the police search for me to take me back ‘home’.And do I have the right to not go back ‘home’.Can I also get an apartment at 16.And please don’t say see a therapist or talk to your parents about your feelings.No,money issues is a problem in my household and their constantly fighting about it.Could I also bounce around my friends homes homes or will they get in trouble if the police find me.I really wanna do this to but Im scared.
    Last edited by ccsmod7; 07-20-2019, 02:57 PM. Reason: identifying town

    Comment


    • ccsmod7
      ccsmod7 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there, thanks for reaching out today. Sounds like things have really taken a toll on you at home and you are planing on leaving in a couple months. No type of abuse is okay, and we truly want to be a support for you during this difficult time.

      To answer your questions, if you leave home at 16 in Texas your guardians can file you as a runaway with local police. If you are found by police, they typically would return you home. If you are able to show police evidence that home is unsafe, they could get Child Protective Services (CPS) involved to try and investigate what is going on at home. If you resist police, it is hard to say what could happen, that would be up to the responding officer. If you are found by police at a friend's place, the legal adult who knowingly houses you as a runaway could be at risk of being charged with harboring a runaway bu your parents; which is a misdemeanor charge. Finding an apartment at 16 could be difficult, because it is generally illegal for someone to lease an apartment to a minor. If you know of anyone who would informally be able to rent out a room to you, that might be an easier option.

      We hear you when you say you are not interested in knowing about other options with parents or therapists, and we do not want to give you information that you do not want. If you ever would like help brainstorming other possible options, or if you need resources or support please know that we are always here for you via phone and chat: 1-800-RUNAWAY; www.1800runaway.org. You mentioned that you have developed depression and have cut, and it is clear that you are feeling very down and unsafe at home. You can always reach out to us or NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) at 1-800-950-NAMI or text NAMI to 741741.

      Please do not hesitate to call or chat if you need any other assistance. Best of luck,

      NRS

  • Hi I’m 15 going to turn 16 in a week and a half. I was wondering if it’s possible to move out of my house with my dads constant because I fell trapped in my house he makes me play football after he said it was my choice he keeps me from my mom and sisters and when I get in trouble I fill like he is going to hit me my aunt said that she would be more than happy to take me would it be possible for me to move in with her with out his constant

    Comment


    • ccsmod10
      ccsmod10 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to us and telling us your story. It sounds like you are going through a very difficult time right now and we hope to be able to help. If your dad gives you consent to go live with your aunt then you can. In cases like this we suggest asking your dad to provide something in witting so your aunt can present it if she ever has to give you consent to do something. If your dad does not give you consent and you leave he can report you as a runaway, the police could get involved, and they could bring you home. The people you’re staying with could potentially get in trouble for harboring a runaway. You could consider calling your local nonemergency police department to ask about their policies. We also have legal aid resources here if you have specific questions about the laws in your state.

      Feeling like your dad might hit you sounds scary. We want you to know that no one deserves to feel afraid of their parents or trapped into doing something they don’t want to do. If you haven’t already, you could consider reporting the abuse you’ve been experiencing. If you want more information about abuse reporting or if you want to file a report, you could call Child Help at 1-800-422-4453. If you don’t feel safe and feel like you need to get away Nationalsafeplace.org provides a safe location for you to meet a staff member who can take you to a designated place where you can discuss all options about how to stay safe. You can text 44357 the word “safe,” and your location to find a safe location in your area. Once you arrive let someone who works there know you need help connecting with a staff member.

      We would love to talk more about the details of your situation so that we can work towards a solution you find acceptable. If you would like to share more, please feel free to call our 24 hour hotline at 1-800Runaway (786-2929) or use our live chat. We hope this information was helpful and take care.

  • so i am currently 14, i’m turning 15 in two months. my mom is verbally/emotionally abusive and i have had to run away from home twice now. i have two different family friends that have offered to take me in for just a year until i’m 16 and can be emancipated. is there any way i can legally live with my family friend for a year without my parents consent?

    Comment


    • ccsmod7
      ccsmod7 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for reaching out! It sounds like you're in a difficult situation, and it is admirable that you are asking for help! We are sorry to hear about your home life, everyone deserves to feel safe and loved.

      The easiest way to move away from home is to get permission from your parents to live elsewhere. Unfortunately since you are under 18, your parents have the right to file a runaway report if you leave home without permission, which is not a crime but a status offense. How those reports are handlded varies from area to area and the best way to find out how they are handled in your area is to call the local police department with a hypothetical question.

      If you would like more information about legal emancipation you can call our 24 hour, toll-free hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY and we would be happy to give you the number for a local legal office that deals with emancipation.

      Thank you again for reaching out, and best of luck!

      NRS

  • Hi I’m 16 years old and I live in Washington. I am wondering if I were to leave my house and move in with my aunt if that could cause her legal problems?

    Comment


    • ccsmod11
      ccsmod11 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi, and thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out.

      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 would be happy to look into legal resources if that’s something you are considering.

      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. If you'd like to talk in more detail about your situation or have any questions please call 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or chat with us (www.1800RUNAWAY.org) as we can best help by phone or chat. Best, NRS

  • I'm 16. I will be 17 in five and a half months. I live in Texas. My step father yells a lot my mother has depression. I read the emotional abuse signs in a child and half of them fit. I live in Texas and everyone says you can not move out till you are 18 but I don't think waiting that long is a good idea for me. What do I do to get out of here as soon as possible??

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. It must be really hard to live in a home with so much tension - no one deserves to be abused in any way. It could be a good idea to work with a local family counselor or have a conversation mediated by a school counselor/social worker, trusted friend, or family member to help clear the air between you and your stepfather about the emotional abuse that has been going on. If you'd like, you can also call us directly and we can conduct a conference call with your stepfather and mom so you have a safe environment where you can express yourself.

      If you’d like to go over what’s going on in-depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

      Stay safe,
      NRS

  • How old do I have to be to move out? I'm 16 about to be 17 in 6 months but I dont know how much longer I can wait.

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little about what's been going on. Until you are 18 you are considered a minor and cannot legally move out on your own. We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your parents (or guardians) can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned to your parents/guardians.

      If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

      Stay safe,
      NRS

  • I’m an sixteen and I live in West Virginia how do I move in with someone else because I am being mentally abuses

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello,

      Thank you for contacting NRS. It sounds like you have been having a difficult time at home and you are considering leaving home. Abuse of any kind is never okay and not your fault. We are not legal experts, but we can share some general information. If you leave home before you turn 18, your parent has the right to file a runaway report. This does not mean you will be arrested, but if the police know where you are then they will likely return you home. We can facilitate a conference call between you and your parent if you felt comfortable to advocate for your needs and help you ask your parent for permission to live somewhere else. We encourage you to talk to people you trust like another family member, a friend, or another adult you trust for support in this situation.

      There is also the option of filing an abuse report. Mental and emotional abuse can be hard to prove, but there is the possibility that child protective service would intervene if they found your home unsafe. If you would like more information about abuse reporting you can call the national child abuse hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

      Please do not hesitate to call (1-800-786-2929) or chat with us (1800runaway.org) to talk more about your situation and explore options. We are 24/7 and confidential.
      Take care,
      NRS

  • My lesbian lover will be turning 16 in 5 months , her birth dad is in jail and her mom and step father isnt stable and she just really hates it there can she leave now instead of waiting till she actually 16. i wanna know if she could get arrested and sent back home . i live in texas .

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello, thank you for reaching out to NRS! It sounds like your girlfriend is going through a really difficult time and you are concerned for her safety. We are not legal experts, but we can share some general information. If she leaves home without the permission of her guardian, they do have the right to file a runaway report. She would not be arrested, but if police located her then she would be returned home.

      It sounds like her mom and step father are not making home safe for your girlfriend. We are not quite sure what is going on but if she is experiencing abuse or neglect then she has the right to report it. The national child abuse hotline (1-800-422-4453) can give her more information and help her file a report if she chooses to go that route.

      We are available 24/7 by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or chat at 1800runaway.org if you or your girlfriend would like to talk more about the situation.

      Good luck,
      NRS

  • Hi. I’m a 16 year old girl living in North Carolina. My parents are excessively horrible to me and I believe I am suffering from Emotional Abuse. When I point out that something my dad is doing is child abuse, and that I would call the cops if I did it again, he took away my room, and he took away my closet. He ransacked my room and threw everything out into the loft. He tells me that i will have horrible consequences if I try and put my clothes back in my closet, and he won’t let me go back to my room. He won’t let me use a spare room which has a mattress in it to sleep either. I don’t know what to do. I have a driver’s permit, but not a license. I can’t leave. I have recently been having suicidal thoughts and extreme depression because I don’t know what to do.

    Comment


    • ccsmod16
      ccsmod16 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out to us, were sorry that home has become mentally draining for you. For running away from home, at age 16 in North Carolina you are considered a minor. If you decided to run away from home your parents could file a runaway report. Which means if the cops were to find you, they would most likely return you home. You are close to age of minority, when you turn 17 you can leave without your parents’ consent. We must disclose that we are not legal experts, but if you want to look in for more options please give us a call. We know earlier you mentioned suicide, and NRS we care about your safety and we wouldn’t want to put that in danger. If you have these feelings again please call National Suicide Prevention Hotline or call 911. It sounds like you’ve been battling with your parents for a while and it might have gotten physical, we encourage you call Child Help at 1-800-422-4453. They can be support and information for your situation. If things escalate at any point don’t hesitate to call 911 at any time. If you have any more questions or concerns feel free to call us at 1-800-786-2929 we are 24/7.

  • I am 16 and I am just tired of living with my family it’s a lot to explain and type. But could I get in trouble if I leave and move in with other family. But get this. We were never aloud to really go over to this other family’s house. Only on special occasions like Xmas birthdays and ya that’s it. My brother did the same thing but he was 17.

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. We’re sorry to hear that things with your family have gotten to the point where you would like to leave. While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. As far as we know, so long as you are a minor, your parents have the right to file a runaway report with the police if you leave home without their permission. While it is not illegal to run away and you will not be arrested for it, if your parents file a runaway report then the police can notify them and return you home if they find you. However, these things can vary from state to state so it may be a good idea to talk to your brother about what happened when he did it and what his experience was like. If you want to talk more specifically about what’s going on, please don’t hesitate to call us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at 1800runaway.org.

      Take care,
      NRS

  • I'm about to turn 15 in October im currently living with my mom who alienates me from my family, she puts her hands on me constantly,doesn't let me outside to hang out with none of my friends doesn't financially support me, uses medical conditions as to why I dont agree with her opinion, and forced me on meds so she could tolerate me. My dad lives in another state but he has false warrants and cant come get me bc my mom doesn't like him and if he tried she will lock him up is it legal for me to find my way across state lines and not be sent back if my current household is toxic or does it go based off of state laws oh and I want to bring a friend would that be okay if my father was given permission in a written statement

    Comment


    • ccsmod8
      ccsmod8 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello –

      Thank you for reaching out to us here on our public forum. Hopefully by helping you out through your crisis, there are others going through something similar can also get the help that they need. It certainly sounds like you have been going through a really difficult time living at home with your mother. No one deserves to be treated that way at all or made to feel like they don’t belong somewhere or that their feelings aren’t valid. You deserve so much more than to just be put down all the time or even abused. It can be frustrating not knowing what the next steps are going to be.

      As you probably have seen countless times on this thread alone, we have answered the questions about what would happen if you were to leave from home without permission. So please re-read a few post to gather more information about that, but if you still have questions don’t hesitate to call or try chatting with us. A youth may get written permission to leave elsewhere, but it would have to come for their own parents not your father since he doesn’t have custody over your friend. If you guys both leave home, it would just be that the both of you would be considered runaways and potentially brought back to your respective homes.

      If you still have questions, please reach out to us.
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