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

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  • hi I’m a senior in high school and I’m 18 and have been arguing with my mom lately. When we get into arguments I like to get in my vehicle and just take a drive to relax and es my mind.

    Keep in mind the vehicle is under my dads name because I was a minor when he bought it for me and he is currently working out of the country.

    So the last time when I wanted to leave my mom threatened to call the cops and report my vehicle as stolen. Can that be done? is that legal?

    I’m not a runaway and I’m not being abused I just like to take a breather and ride in my vehicle.

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there. Sorry you are having a rough time at home with your mom. It makes sense that you'd want to take a breather every now and then.

      We aren't legal experts so we really can't know for sure the legal details about what your mom is threatening. One idea would be to call your local police non-emergency number and ask them if she could do that. If the car is not in your name it could be problematic for you, but we just can't know for sure. If you give us your city and state we could look to see if there is a legal aid center you can call get some free legal advice. You might also consider talking to your dad to see what he has to say about the situation, considering it is technically his vehicle.

      We hope this information helps. Feel free to call us anytime at 1-800-RUNAWAY. Here to listen. Here to help.

  • Hi I live in ****** Alabama and I was wondering if I could move out of my mom's house and live with my dad and there not be any consequences that would get him or me into trouble
    Last edited by ccsmod7; 09-29-2019, 04:15 PM.

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,
      Thank you for contacting us at the National Runaway Safeline. It takes great courage to reach out for help and we are glad that you decided to reach out for help.


      It sounds like you have been thinking of leaving home. If your safety is at risk at home you can always call 911. If you are being hurt in anyway either emotionally, or physically you have the option to file an abuse report. You can call Child Help USA at 1-800-422-4453 and they can help you provide more information on filing an abuse report.
      Leaving home can be hard in many cases. It can be helpful to think about where you might stay and how you might pay for food, rent and other living expenses. Talk to other adults you trust like family members, friends and school counselors can be helpful as well in many situations. Family counseling can be helpful in many situations as well. You can call NAMI at 1-800-950-NAMI for any counseling resources. We also have a conference call service where you can call us and we can do a conference call with your parents and help come to a common ground. We are not legal experts however speaking generally if you are under 18 and your parents are to file a police report the police can bring you back home and whoever you stay with could be charged with harboring a runaway.

      You can reach out to us at our 24 hour confidential hotline at 1-800-786-2929 and we would be happy to listen to you, explore your options, provide any resources or do the conference call with your parents. We wish you the best and hope to hear from you soon.

      You are doing great by reaching out for help before taking any steps. We wish you the best and hope to hear from you soon.

      Best,
      NRS

  • I am almost 17 and want to leave home when i turn 18 because i can't stand to live at home but my guardians won't let me and say that if i do move out when I turn 18 then they will take me to court and bla bla bla. Can they actually file charges against me and will I be forced to stay with them? Is there anyway I can leave now without then filing charges and reporting me as a runaway?

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. Unless you are living in Alabama, Mississippi, or Nebraska, the age of majority is 18. That means that as soon as you turn 18 you have the right to decide where you live. If you have a mental health issue or some other kind of behavioral issue that would make you unable to take care of yourself, your guardians could potentially try to petition to extend their guardianship over you past 18. That being said, it is never illegal to run away. While your parents can file a runaway report with the police if you do leave home, that would simply mean that the police would notify your guardians and attempt to return you home only if they encountered you. If you want to provide some more details about your situation, we would be happy to provide you with whatever information we have available. Please call us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at 1800runaway.org.

      Take care,
      NRS

  • Hi, I am 16 years old and I live in Hampton Virginia. My issue is I really wanna run away. I was recently molested by my “ brother “ and now home doesn’t feel the same anymore. Im constantly reminded that I am a Victim. Being called a victim is now my new Title at home and I hate it. I have a friend who’s family who will greatly take me in but my problem is they need my parents consent. I’m not sure on how I should come about to my parents and let them know that I wanna run away. My home no longer feels like home. My sunny days come with rain now and the only people who don’t look at me as a “ victim “ are my friends. To top it all off I’m supposed to be moving soon to Valdosta Georgia also which means not only will I not have my friends but I will also have to stay with people that I no longer think care and love me me as much. I also cant talk to them otp (on the phone) because due to everything that has happened with court and being molested I have been “ acting out “ so my mom and dad thought it would be best to take both mines and my brothers phones away so now once I move I no longer have a way to communicate and vent to them about is going on. If I had it my way I would’ve been ran away but the more I think about it the more I think I should get consent just so they don’t put posters around saying I ran away or telling people I left WITHOUT consent. Sorry for the long message but I really hope you can help me the best way that you can. Thank you for your time and have a great day or night.

    Comment


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you are going through a lot at home. It must be tough to feel like a victim and still be in the same household has your brother who was molesting you. If you ever want to talk to someone about what you are going through contact RAINN at 1800-656-4673, rainn.org. Also it’s good that you want to have a conversation with your parents instead of leaving without their consent. You are right, because you are a minor they could file a runaway report and if the police located you they would just return you back home. If you want support in starting this conversation you can always call us at NRS to do a conference call with your parents. This may help you both come up with a solution together that works for everybody.
      It must be lonely not being able to talk to anyone about what is going on except your friends and not even have them to talk to. If you ever need someone to talk to about what you are experiencing please contact NAMI at 1800-950-NAMI or text 741741. We know it takes a lot of courage to look for support. If you want to talk about your situation further, please feel free to reach out to us 24/7. Best of luck.

  • Hey so my moms constantly on my back and makes me do things I don’t wanna do I live in Alabama and I just wanna get away she gets mad at me for no reason at all for anything and everything I do is it okay for me to leave and I’m 15 by the way

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline and sharing your story with us. It seems like you are going through a difficult time right now.
      We are not legal experts but we do have general information on the laws. Because you are a minor
      You could be considered as a runaway. If the police do find you they most likely would bring you home. You could consider talking with a school counselor about what has been going on at home. Sometimes talking with a professional can help you feel better.
      We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to explore more options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and provide support. Best of luck!
      NRS

  • My stepmother is verbally and physically abusive my dad however is not. I would never ask him to choose between us ,yet its only getting worse. She has thrown me , screamed at me for simply taking a nap because its "bad for my health" (i rarely take naps). She has sent me away told me shes never done the things i so clearly remember. My real mother is not exactly a mother , she tries however i have raised myself she has refused to feed me and was never home. While under her care my brother tore his A.C.L. it wasn't fixed until march. Now this alone wouldn't keep me from living with her however her husband is sexually abusive to me and so is one of his sons.I do not feel safe in either home , i am 15 i have no interest on calling DHS i just want to leave my home situations not my life i have built. How can i solve this without leaving the town i am in and risking harassment from some stranger who wants to take care of me.
    - D

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,
      Thanks for reaching out to us, it seems like you are in quite a pickle. Being stuck feeling unsafe in both potential homes is a tough place to be, especially when you have a life and at least one caring parent. It is understandable that you wouldn’t want to upset this balance even if it makes things harder, or risks hurting your father. A home should feel safe and it seems like you aren’t getting that.
      It seems like in both cases it is your step-parent that is the main issue, and you seem concerned in at least one case that by speaking up you may be putting their apparent happiness at risk. It is kind of you to be so considerate of others while you are going through this. It is ok to be a little selfish for your own protection though. You shouldn’t be being hit, yelled at, or touched sexually and it is ok to defend yourself from these instances by reporting it, or telling your biological parent. If your bio-parent’s feelings are hurt, just remember that it was their partner who chose to act like that towards you and they are responsible for their own action and should be prepared to face the consequences of them.
      If you do plan to ride this out, you could try and build up a support system for yourself. This might look like a few friends that you are comfortable telling what has been happening. It could also look like a professional mental health counselor, or a school staff member. They may be able to help you navigate the negative feelings you seem to be facing and if anything you can just rant to them.
      Last you mentioned wanting to get out of the home, but not necessarily put your life at risk. There are different levels on this. You could focus on being out of the house more during the day as much as possible but coming home at night. This may be like joining a sports team, or after-school program, or even a job. Just being out of the house as much as you can will limit opportunities for abuse. This does have the chance to backfire depending on the person though. Another level might be staying at a friend’s house if things seem bad one night. This could be enough of a reprieve to let you calm down and feel safe again. There might also be shelters around that could let you stay overnight as well if your friend’s house aren’t safe either.
      Hopefully these ideas have been helpful, and given you some options to think about. If you ever feel like things are getting worse, or just want to talk to someone about it all we are always here at 1-800-786-2929 or you can email or chat online through our website.

  • Hello. I don’t want to say my name Incase someone I know sees this but can I leave home at 16 to live in a better home with a better family? My dad physically and verbally abuses me and so does my step mom. I just want to know how to get away so I can stop blaming bruises and pain on football.

    Comment


    • ccsmod10
      ccsmod10 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Hello,

      Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Saafeline. You mentioned wanting to know how you can leave home before turning 18. The easiest way to leave home is with your parents 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 parents. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. If you feel like this is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/. We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering.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. You don't deserve to feel this way and we hope you can find the support you need.

      Please feel free to reach out to us any time. We can offer support and resources to you. Our number is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929).

      Be safe,

      NRS

  • Hi, I’m a 16 y/o named Emily, and I live in Michigan. I know that I’m emotionally abused by my parents (they call me derogatory names, won’t allow me to be able to contact my friends or other family members, force me to stay home almost all the time, have sexually harassed me, try to make it look like they’re perfect parents, etc), and it’s really hard having to live with them every day. I want to leave home, but I’m scared that I’ll be forced to go back. If I tried to leave but was forced to come back, I know that the situation with my parents would only get 100x worse. I read that I can leave home without parental consent after I turn 16, but I wasn’t sure if that was true?

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey Emily,

      Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what’s been going on, we know that it takes a lot of courage. It must be really hard to live in a home with so much tension - you shouldn't be abused in any way. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do.

      You mentioned some things about sexual harassment that raise concern for your safety and well-being. If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately. If any harm, abuse, or anything inappropriatly sexual in nature is happening at home, you have the right to report it. If you feel like this is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/. We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering. It may also be a good idea to explore options for staying with another family member or someone you trust as far as transferring custody.

      We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but the age of majority (adulthood) in Michigan is 18, which means that you are considered a minor until then. If you do opt to leave your home your parent 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 home. Police response can vary a lot from location to location and generally speaking, the closer you are to turning 18, the more likely it is that the police may let you stay where you are. You can call out to your local nonemergency police line (usually you can just dial 311) to confirm local runaway response policy.

      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 16, my family life is not the best my parents drink 24/7 I have a safe place to move into. If I leave will the cops send me back home even tho I have a safe place and my parents are emotionally abusive. I live in Oregon btw

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out to NRS. You asked a really great questions. From what we know, if you leave home at 16 without permission your parents can report you as a runaway. You will not be arrested, but the police might return you home. However, runaway protocol can vary by police department. You can call the non-emergency number for your local police department and anonymously ask questions about their runaway protocol.

      You deserve to have a safe place to live and your parents' behavior is not okay. You do have the option to make a child abuse report to get a social worker involved to help. This can be a scary decision to make and you do not have to do it alone. You can contact the national child abuse hotline (800-422-4453 ; childhelphotline.org) for more support and information.

      We are here 24/7 and we want to be a support for you during this challenging time. Do not hesitate to reach out to talk more in detail about your situation and explore your options.

      Good luck,
      NRS

  • I am 15 right now and I hate living with my family. I want to move out as soon as possible. The only problem is that I know my parents won't let me. If I move out without their consent, can I get arrested? I live in Wisconsin too. my boyfriend believes that I am emotionally abused, but how am I supposed to prove that? I really want to just run away now, but I'm afraid I'll be forced to return to my parents, and my parents will be super angry at me. I am scared of what they would do if I ran away and then had to return. Can I be legally forced to go home if I refuse? If I have to go to court or something will I need a lawyer? How will I pay for it? my boyfriend's mom said she would love to take me in too. could I go and live with her without my parent's consent? I really need to get out of this home I haven't seen my boyfriend in 6 months because of my parents. I really need help! PLEASE!

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what’s been going on, we know that it takes a lot of courage. It must be really hard to live in a home with so much tension. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do.

      We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your parents 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 home.

      We’re not legal experts here at NRS, so we can’t give you any legal advice regarding emancipation. Emancipation is an option in the state of Wisconsin but there isn't a specific statute about who can and cannot be emancipated. Emancipation can often be a lengthy and expensive process. You may want to speak with a legal aid group (they provide free or low cost legal advice) about emancipation qualifications and procedures. You can find a legal aid group near you by going to http://www.badgerlaw.net/.

      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

  • Hi my name is monica I'm 17 and I will be 18 on july 18th and was wondering if I can leave home with a good reason of emotional abuse or threats my mom has always been so rude to me like today she said I cant use no dishes in the house so I have to eat off the floor then she goes to my grandpa saying if he sees me eat any food that is hers in the house to call her or text her so if I cant leave now then there is no reason to be living like I have a job but my mom is forcing me to save it then the phone I bought she's telling me what to do with but it's my phone .... she said if u dont leave it home from school she's going to make me quit my job witch she wont do it because she cant make me

    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 your mom has been treating you in such an unnecessarily cruel and hurtful manner. It is wildly inappropriate to try and make you eat off of the floor and it is unfair that she is imposing these rules for you about how you spend your money. Normally,so long as you are a minor in your state, your mom can call the police to file a runaway report if you leave without her permission. This usually allows the police to notify your guardian and then return you home if they encounter you. However, some states can be more or less lenient about these types of policies. We would be happy to discuss with you the particulars of your situation or what other options there might be. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at 1800runaway.org.

      Take care,
      NRS

  • Hello, I live in the state of Iowa, my best friend is living in the most toxic family, worse than what mine was. I just helped her out of a mental breakdown that she has daily because of her mother. She attacks her like she is nothing and uses everything against her. She is 16, has a license and a car. She wants to leave but she is beyond scared too. I told her I would find a way to make it legal.. I need to be pointed in the right direction. Her mother would never sign off on Emancipation, which is difficult. If she stays with me or her cousin, does she legally have to go back home? Can she legally refuse to go home?
    Last edited by ccsmod8; 10-30-2019, 04:33 PM. Reason: Personal information included

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi,

      Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It must be hard to watch your friend suffer like this, and you are brave to have reached out to us for help.

      It sounds like your friend is being emotional abused and that life at home for her is very difficult. It’s important that both of you know that she does not deserve to be treated this way. It sounds like because of these difficulties at home, your friend is considering running away, and you are concerned with the legality of this. We are not legal experts, but we do know that when minors run away, their parents can file a runaway report and the police can make a good faith effort to bring them back home. Despite this, young people do run away. If your friend chooses to do this, it is important she considers how she will survive and stay safe, as well as what she might do in the event of a police response. Sometimes it can help to enlist other family members or friends’ parents that can help facilitate a discussion between the youth and their guardian. We can also be of help, even mediating a conference call between your friend and her Mom. Our number is 1-800-RUN-AWAY or we can be instant messaged at 1800runaway.org.

      We hope that you find some of this useful. Again, you demonstrate bravery in helping your friend. We wish you the best of luck on your journey. Reach out whenever!

      Sincerely,
      NRS

  • Hi my name is Emily, Ive been living with my dad and my stepmom since I was 2 years old and I am currently 15. I turn 16 in June of next year. I would like to go live with my biological mom because ive always had problems with my dad and my stepmom. My dad owns 2 toy stores at a mall here in El Paso,TX and I work at one of them everyday after school and on weekends, and its been this way since I was 13. What I'm trying to say is that I'm tired of working all the time I never have time for myself and my parents never let me stay after school for anything. I've been really stressed and last year I was in such a bad place that I started using drugs. My dad and my step mom obviously thought that I was just being a rebel and acting out. My dad hardly hits me but when he does hits me really hard and it take weeks for my bruises to go away. In addition to this my dad already has an abusive background, he used to hit my biological mom and one time he even broke her arm, and when they got divorced my mom accused him of abusing her. I'm always getting in trouble for little thing my dad loves to exaggerate, another example can be that I am not allowed to date and during the summer my dad found out that I have a boyfriend and when he saw me he hit me really hard on my arm and my he meant to hit my ribs but I was covering them with my and I spent like 3 weeks with pain and really dark purple almost black bruises on my ribs and arm. When this happened I told my dad crying that I was going to leave with my biological mom, I told him that I couldn't take the emotional and physical abuse anymore. He got even more mad because I'm not even allowed to speak to my biological mom, even though she does have custody of me.
    This morning my dad found some pills that weren't even mine and my dad thought I was doing drugs again and he told me he is going to move me to a charter school and I really don't want that because its only 4 hrs and that would mean less time at school and more time at work with him. I really really really want to go live withy mom, I know ill be better off with her but my dad keeps saying that if I leave he WILL bring me back and that when he does bring me back home its going to be hell for me. I don't know what do anymore, please help me.

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out to NRS. It sounds like your dad has been making you feel very unsafe at home which is not okay. You deserve to be treated in a way that makes you feel safe and supported. It must be really exhausting and overwhelming to be forced to work at your dad's store so much and it is unfair that he makes you do this. From what you mentioned, you have already been doing your best to advocate for yourself and prioritize your well-being.

      From what we know, runaway laws can vary and change in circumstances like yours where you are planning on leaving to live with another parent who has custody. This would most likely be more of an issue of custody, so your mom might have to go to court to have you live with her. Perhaps speaking to her or another family member will help you brainstorm a plan to be able to live with your mom. We want to help you decide on your next steps and discover your options, and we can better do that if we are able to talk more in detail about your situation. If you decide that you need to leave you can reach out to NRS anytime by phone or use our online chat services, so that we can better help you.

      Additionally, you can report the behavior that is making you feel unsafe at home. This can document why you don't want to live with him and possibly help your mom's case for getting more custody. If you decide to go this route, the national child abuse hotline can give you more information about the process and support you in starting the report. You can contact them at 800-422-4453 or go to www.childhelphotline.org.

      We are here 24/7 to listen and help at 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1800runaway.org. We look forward to hearing from you so that we can help!

      Be safe,
      NRS

  • hi my name is nathan i’m 16 and i want to leave i get blamed for everything and is called a dope head all the time by my mom and my grandma i want to live with my sister dad but my mom won’t let me and i can’t get my permit at all or a job because no one will give me a ride what can i do

    Comment


    • 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. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time. If you would like to talk more in depth about options and other ways of going about your situation we would love to talk. If you would like to talk more in detail and share more about how we can help specifically, please call or chat soon.
      Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (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.
      We hope to hear from you soon.
      Be safe, NRS

  • Hey, I am 16 years old I am having problems at home so I want to leave home. Can I do this and enroll in another school I can be able to facilitate my educational needs without parental consent.

    Comment


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what’s been going on, we know that it takes a lot of courage. If you do opt to leave home or find yourself to be homeless you still have the right to your education under what’s called the McKinney-Vento act. This act guarantees you the right to stay in your original school and be provided transportation to and from school (to the extent possible), enrollment in a school in your area, receive free school meals and to receive services like educational supports and basic needs. To find out more about how to take advantage of the McKinney-Vento act we suggest calling your school directly.

      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
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