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

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  • i’m 15, turning 16 in a week. when i was 10 my dad was given legal custody of me and i was forced to move in with him. I love my dad, but my step mom is emotionally abusive and i just don’t feel comfortable here. i visit my mom once a week, but i have always wanted to live with her. I read somewhere that at 16 you can leave home and cannot legally be forced to come back. I know my dad won’t let me live with my mom and i really don’t want to confront him about my step mom. i’m just much happier and comfortable and loved at my moms. My dad has money and connections though where my mom does not and i’m scared that he will find a way to make me come back. i just want to make sure that if i leave that i won’t have to see them until i’m ready bc they will be so angry

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    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello,
      Thanks so much for reaching out to us. We are so sorry that things with your dad and stepmom have been so challenging. It sounds like you are hopping to live with your mom, but you have questions about whether you would be able to stay there.

      We are not legal experts, but from what we understand, if you are considered a minor, your parent or legal guardian (in this case, whomever has custody of you), can file a runaway report with your local police department if you leave without consent. Whether you can be brought back to your custodial parent depends on the laws in your state. Usually the best resource to confirm whether or not you can leave home and not be forced to return home is your local police department at their non-emergency number. If you would like to live with your mom, one option would be to talk to her about possibly petitioning for custody again. We can help you identify resources that can provide more information to you and your mom, feel free to reach out to us anytime.

      Whatever you decide, please know that we are here to support you. We cannot tell you what to do, but we will do our best to help you stay as safe as possible as you explore your options. You can reach us 24/7 by phone at 1.800.RUNAWAY (786.2929) or via chat by visiting our website https://www.1800runaway.org/ . We are here to listen, here to help. Stay safe!
      -NRS

  • Hi, I'm 16 right now and I'll turn 17 in April. I live in Wisconsin. My parents have been pretty emotionally abusive. My boyfriend wants me to move in with him and I'd like to but I'm not 18 yet and neither is he. My parents get angry when I simply ask to go see him and it's only once a week. I've went weeks on end without seeing him and then ask to go to his house and my parents still get mad. My dad has hit me before but it's been quite a while. I want to move out but i don't want to go through the court if it means my parents would lose my other siblings. I have three younger siblings, I'm the oldest. I paid for my phone and pay for the data plan still. My parents keep threatening to take my phone away and I don't think it's right that they would be able to do this. Are they legally able to take my phone away if I pay for it? Am I able to leave home without parental consent? I don't want anyone getting in trouble trying to help me. My parents don't let me go basically anywhere and when they do they get angry about it and we always end up fighting over it. I'm tired of everything and I just want to be able to do what I need to to finish school and not worry about getting yelled at every night or angering my parents.

    Comment


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi,

      Thanks for reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. We are so sorry that things are so tough at home, and we hope to be of some help to you in figuring out your next steps.
      It sounds like you have endured some emotional abuse at home and in one instance it got physical. We want you to know that this is never okay, and you deserve to be in a home in which you feel safe and comfortable. You mention reservations about reporting the abuse, but we want you to know this is always an option. We can help you do it. There is also an amazing resource called Child Help, which can be reached at 1-800-422-4453 or www.childhelp.org. They can tell you more about how CPS could respond to your situation.

      We are not legal experts, so we cannot answer exactly about your parents’ ability to take your phone away if you are paying for it. In regards to running away, we can say that 18 is the age at which a person can leave home without the consent of parents or guardians. If a person under 18 leaves home without this consent, they may be reported as a runaway youth and found and brought home by police. Police actions can vary from county to county, but it is also important to know that it is not illegal to run away, so you will not be charged in any way. You may consider enlisting your boyfriend’s parents for help in talking to your parents and procuring the consent. Sometimes adults will respond better to other adults.

      We hope that some of this information is useful to you. We are so sorry to hear that things have been hard at home, and we hope that this empowers you to make the best decision for your mental health. We are always available to talk on the phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY or via instant message at 1800runaway.org. We will be here 24/7 to listen, and to help.

      Stay safe and strong out there,
      NRS

  • Hi I am 17 years old I turn 18 on november 25th my parents have been treated me badly yell at me and insult me alot 1 time my mom punched me in the face because I was protecting my face from her hits and she left me bleeding from my mouth what actions can I do and what can happen to my girlfriend family if her parents let me stay since I turn 18 in 2 weeks or so would j be forced to go back home and or what can my parents do to take me back

    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 parents are being inappropriately violent towards you. They should never physically harm or endanger you and it is awful that they have.

      While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. It is not illegal to run away. Your parent/guardian could file a runaway report on you but this would NOT mean that you would get arrested or charged with anything. It typically does mean that the police could return you home if they encountered you and that would be that. Some police can be more understanding about what is going on at your home. In our experience, police will oftentimes return the youth back to their guardian almost no matter what. Police typically do not actively search for a runaway youth. However, they will go where the parent/guardian directs them if they know where you are staying. Additionally, police can sometimes be more lenient about runaway situations the closer you are to 18. You can attempt to calmly, respectfully, and persistently deny them consent to touch you or take you anywhere, and they may give up on trying to return you home. They also may not, in which case you should comply with what they tell you to do for your safety.

      There can be risk of what is called “harboring a runaway” charges for the people you are staying with. While the risk of such charges are significantly lower given how close you are to 18, they are still a risk. It is typically considered a misdemeanor offense if it is successfully pursued. It might be wise to reach out to your local police to find out more about your girlfriend’s family’s risk.

      If you want to talk more about what is going on, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-786-2929 or chat with us at 1800runaway.org.

      Take care,
      NRS

  • Hi my names Sammie
    I wanted to know if im aloud to move out and in with people i trust because in my house its a very toxic place my parents are hippocritical assholes who flip me off ******** talk me 24/7 they deprive me and my sister of our needs like clothes that fit and basics like razors and deodorant there are times where there is no soaps in the shower but my mom has her own that she hides and buys her self all the time so when we are out she doesn’t care because she has her stuff my dad tells me to pack up and leave cusses me out hits me and my siblings and makes us feel as if we will never be good enough no matter how hard we try im 16 and my boyfriend said hes tired of me crying every night because of how ass my parents are and i should move in with him i want to know if i leave without asking my parents and move from ct to ri can i get me or my boyfriend into trouble im getting a job he is about to have a job hes waiting for a call back and his grampa is letting us live in his house till we can afford our own

    Comment


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help especially with everything that is going on in your house. It is very stressful to be in a home where you are not getting your basic needs met. You deserve to be treated better and most certainly deserve to never be hit or threatened to be thrown out of the house. It makes sense that you want to be out on your own and setting up a safe place to live. Legally at 16 you are still a minor and your parents could file a runaway report if you left. If you had interactions with the police as a runaway, the police would be obligated to return you home if they felt you would be safe and cared for. Your boyfriend and his family probably would not get in trouble for giving you a place to stay, but harboring a runaway charges could always be a risk for them. If you call our 24/7 hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY or start a chat on our website 1800runaway.org, we can discuss options and resources in your area.

      We hope to hear from you soon so that we can help,

      Good luck,
      NRS

  • Hey, I don't know if this is still active or not, but I want to know how I could legally live with my grandparents. I turned 16 in July. When I was 7, my mother died of cancer, so I had to live with people who I've been calling my aunt and uncle. I used to have to visit my father every Sunday at my grandparents house, which I loved. My dad passed when I was 10, and my grandparents took my aunt and uncle to court to get full custody of me. I said I only wanted visitation at that time, so now I get visitations with them once a month. However, I really want to live with them now. It seems like after my father passed away, and after the whole court situation, my aunt in particular, has been very rude to me. She has been getting in my face over the simplest things, I have been shoved up to the closet, but nothing really too physical. I want to go live with my grandparents, but I want to know if I could legally move there. I haven't had my phone since like 7th grade, because I get grounded over almost anything. I just feel like my anxiety spikes every time my aunt walks in the room. She just talks to me disrespectfully. Nobody else but my half sister notices how she treats me. And, to be honest, I can't emotionally handle this any more. I want to move to my grandparents house so bad. I'm not looking to run away, because they would just call the police and I would be returned home. I want to know if I legally have the option to live somewhere else. I can e-mail, but not call. Thank you in advance.

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello, thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand that it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what has been going on. We are so sorry to hear about your parents; our deepest condolences. Its seems as if you have endured a lot throughout the few years so we commend you for your strength and resilience. It must be hard dealing with your aunt being rude to you, as no one should have to experience that type of disrespect.

      We are not legal experts however we do have a lot of experience working with youth. If you would like to live with your grandparents, the courts may need to get involved. You would also need to get consent from your current legal guardians. You may like to consider having a conversation with your grandparents during your next visit about potentially living with them permanently. If you grandparents were okay with the agreement, they would need to reach out to both your aunt and uncle. You may also like to consider having a conversation with your aunt and uncle about your current living arrangement. If you would feel more comfortable, you could also have a trusted individual to mediate the conversation.

      We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help you by telephone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice on the forum to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail, please call or chat us soon.

      We can be reached at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).

  • I am 16 years old and I am currently at a camp that has helped me understand how much abuse my parents have put on me. I want to go move out and live with my close friend that lives about 2 hour away from me Is that legal? What if im to scared to tell people that I was abused then what will happen? If i tell CPS about the abuse what will happen to my family? I only have 2 weeks to figure this all out but I am really scared to go back home but I don't want to get a runaway file on my name. Please help me.

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you so much for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through a difficult time right now, and we want you to know you are not alone.
      We are not legal experts but we do have some information on what could happen if you were to leave. Because you are considered a minor if you left without permission your legal guardian could file a runaway report. Running away is a status offense what that means is if you were found you most likely would not be in any legal trouble but you would be returned home to your legal guardian.
      We are sorry to hear that you have been abused, and you do not deserve to be abused. It is understandable to be afraid of telling people about the abuse, but we want you to know it is always an option. If you did want to report the abuse you can call Child Help at 1800-422-4453, you can also call us and we can help with an abuse report. Unfortunately, every case is different so it is hard to tell what would happen once you told CPS. In most cases they investigate within 72 hours of reporting. After that they can decide what services to provide such as counseling, parenting classes, or family supervision. If you are in danger they may find placement for you such as living with another family member. If you are in danger, please call 911.
      We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and provide support to you. Best of luck!
      NRS

  • Hi im 16 years old and i live in texas. My stepmom has been kicking me out for years but calls me in as a runaway, She has been threatening to kill me and has been hurting me physically and emotionally. If im a 16 year old in college can i runaway? Im looking into getting emanicapted. I have a job and they are aware of whats going on at home. They are willing to help me get out of that home. Ive thought about suicide but i would love to live my life. I dont have any family but the closest person to me is my coworker and she has offered to help me runaway. her boyfriend is a police officer and he wants to help as well. What should i do? Im scared to go home. All they do is hit me and force me to do things.

    Comment


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you so much for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. It sounds like you are going through a difficult time right now, and we want you to know you are not alone.
      We are not legal experts but we do have some information on what could happen if you were to leave. Because you are considered a minor if you left without permission your legal guardian could file a runaway report. Running away is a status offense what that means is if you were found you most likely would not be in any legal trouble but you would be returned home to your legal guardian.
      We are sorry to hear that you have been abused, and you do not deserve to be abused. It is understandable to be afraid of telling people about the abuse, but we want you to know it is always an option. If you did want to report the abuse you can call Child Help at 1800-422-4453, you can also call us and we can help with an abuse report. Unfortunately, every case is different so it is hard to tell what would happen once you told CPS. In most cases they investigate within 72 hours of reporting. After that they can decide what services to provide such as counseling, parenting classes, or family supervision. If you are in danger they may find placement for you such as living with another family member. If you are in danger, please call 911.
      We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and provide support to you. Best of luck!
      NRS

    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to The National Runaway Safeline, it takes great courage to reach out and we are so glad that you have decided to reach out.
      You are going through a difficult time and we want you to know that you are not alone. You do not deserve to be treated the way you have been treated. Because you are a minor it is considered neglect whenever your mother kicks you out. You do have a right to report the neglect and the abuse. You can make a report by calling Child Help at : 1800-422-4453. You can also call or chat with us and we can help you with making a report.
      It is great that you have a job and that they are willing to help you. To find out more about the emancipation process you can call your local court house and they would be able to help you start the process. Keep in mind emancipation can take a few months and can sometimes be costly.
      We know you mentioned suicide and we want you to know that you are worth living and your life is valuable. If you are ever feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to there is always someone willing to help and willing to listen. Please reach out to The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: 800-273-8255.
      We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any other questions or would like to explore more options please give us a call. We are available 24/7 to listen and to provide support.
      Stay Strong,
      NRS

  • i’m 16 and i live with my mom and step dad ive always thought my mom had changed since being with him i’m always told i’m not grown and they put me down even when i try to get them to listen to my reason why, they don’t and today i work at KFC and they showed up to my job because my car wasn’t there but it wasn’t there for a reason i was helping my boyfriends mom with washing her clothes and we took her car all my co workers was watching them arguing with me and i think they took it way to far and i want to move out seeing it’s the best option for me i hate living here but i don’t think my mom will let me leave what should i do?

    Comment


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline. We know it takes a lot of courage to reach out for support, and we're glad you did. It sounds like you had a rough day with your mom and stepdad showing up to your job and arguing with you in front of your coworkers. Feeling like they took it way too far is understandable, especially if you were trying to do something nice for someone else. If you think moving out is the best option for you, but your mom won't let you leave, it might be a good idea to try and have a conversation with her about how you're feeling. If you find it challenging to talk with her one on one, it could help to have someone else there that you're comfortable with, like a family member, family friend, or even a therapist. If those aren't options for you, we can also help you plan that conversation and/or facilitate it with you.

      In thinking about leaving home, it's important to spend some time thinking about a plan. Consider thinking about where you will go, how you will get there, and how you'll provide for yourself. If you have someone you'd like to stay with, it's a good idea to talk your plan over with them to make sure they're okay with it. If your mom's permission is important to you, having a plan spelled out might be useful. She may also be more willing to let you leave if you can both agree on another place for you to stay, even if it's just for a cooling off period.

      Whatever you decide to do, we're here for you. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY or chat with us through our website at 1800runaway.org. We're available 24/7, and are always happy to help.

  • I am 16 years old, and i'm living with my brother and sister in law. they have guardianship of me. can i leave the house to live with my mom? and what are my options if the police get involved or court?

    Comment


    • ccsmod3
      ccsmod3 commented
      Editing a comment
      We appreciate you reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline. We know it takes a lot to reach out for support, and commend you for doing so. Generally speaking, the individuals who have legal guardianship of a minor are the ones who are responsible for that minor. It probably feels a little tricky because your mom is...your mom and you want to live with her, but if at any point guardianship was formally given to your brother and sister in law, it likely won't be as simple as leaving the house to live with your mom. It might be helpful for you to try and have a conversation with your brother and sister in law about living with your mom. If everyone agrees, an agreement can be documented and you can all follow it.

      However, it's possible they won't agree. If that happens, it's important to think about where you go from there. Do you specifically want to live with your mom, or do you no longer want to live with your brother and sister in law? If it's not just living with mom, is there anyone else you can live with that you brother and sister in law would agree to? If you want to just live with your mom, will she allow it even if your brother and sister in law say no? There are a lot of different factors that come into play here. If the police or courts ultimately get involved, it's possible that your mom could face legal repercussions. These vary by state.

      We hope that this information helps some, but if you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to us by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY or through our chat at www.1800runaway.org. We're available 24/7, and always happy to help.

      Take care,

      NRS

  • Hi I’m 16 and I don’t want to live with my parents anymore because I feel so emotionally damaged and depressed. So I have reached out to one of my uncles and I would like to go with him. But the only problem is my parents would never let me. So I wanted to ask if I technically went and live with my uncle without my parents approval can my uncle get in trouble for that? And what will happen to me if I do that? Im just so scared and don’t live with my parents anymore. What do I do??

    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. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do. It’s great to hear that your uncle supports you. If you go to stay at his house without prior permission from your parents, he could potentially be charged with harboring a runaway, which is a misdemeanor. Penalties for harboring a runaway vary from state to state, police officer to officer, and how your parents view the situation. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned home.

      You mentioned that life at home has been emotionally damaging and has led to some feelings of depression. Those kinds of feelings can be really overwhelming and you aren't alone. If you’d like some additional support, an organization that may be helpful is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). You can contact them by calling 1-800-950-NAMI or you can text them by sending NAMI to 741741. Another agency that could be of great help is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), they can help you locate low or no cost mental health care providers in your area. Their number is 1-800-662-4357 or you can go to their site at samhsa.gov.

      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

      We'd love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis 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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/we_care_what_you_think

  • hi i was wondering if i got caught with a run away if i could get charges pressed on me

    Comment


    • ccsmod4
      ccsmod4 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.

      While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent/guardian permission. That person may be filed as a runaway by the parent or guardian with their local police department. Also, anyone found to be aiding or harboring a runaway may face legal charges. For more specifics on the law, contact the local non-emergency number to the police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.

      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); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).


      Be safe,
      NRS
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