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

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    hey i have 16 turning 17 in August and i am currently living with my family and i hate it. My parents aren’t american and think they can control my life all they want just because i am THIER daughter. I am never allowed out or to have any sort of friends. I haven’t been out with my friends in over 5 months and whenever i try to go out, they just start saying “i’m calling the cops” “you’re worthless” and mannnnyyyy hurtful stuff. All my life, my family has been fighting. Ever waking moment they fight. That has affected me soo much because they blame it on me. AND THEY MAKE SURE I KNOW. they always say “we are fighting because of you.” “you’re the reason why there is problems in the house.” But all i do is isolate myself from them because they hate me so much. I get scared to get up and eat because they talk to much about me. And if i say something about it, i am on drugs and i need help according to them. Never in my life have i ever touched any other drug than weed and it became my only escape from everything. But then, i had a boyfriend I loved so much he was the only reason i was happy. But because they are “my parents” they can tell me what i can and can’t do with my body. i told my mom if u don’t want me in this house then why won’t you let me leave? SHE RESPONDED WITH “yes i want you out of my but I want you in jail rather than out. And i have contacted my school for help but they just told me to deal with it for 2 more years. but it’s not fair at all i wanna be able to live my life and i want to have a support system at home. I can’t do much more without them threatening the cops or going to my school and telling them lies. Please if there is something i can do, let me know because i have thought of killing my self way to many times and i want a better life for me.

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  • ccsmod0
    commented on Guest's reply
    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 mom and brother. 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.
    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 which it sounds like is the case. You absolutely do not deserve to be harmed. 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.
    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). If you would like to look into further emotional support options, you can text with a crisis worker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness 24/7 by texting "NAMI" to 741741.
    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,
    NRS
    Last edited by ccsmod0; 01-19-2021, 02:37 AM.

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hi I’m 15 I will turn 16 in a couple of months, 5 years ago I started to live with my mom, little brother and stepdad in a apartment all together we use to live in my grandparents house without my stepdad we never had any problem between us until now my guardians relationship became toxic, my brother was diagnosed with anxiety and has social interaction problem in the other hand I was diagnosed with depression in just 5 years my life became miserable my mom takes her stress and anger on me all the time turning onto physical fights , to add my stepdad treats me way differently from my brother he talks about me as a bad person and fights with my mom every single day sometimes things get out of control besides that I been doing poorly on my education I have no motivation my grades have been going down, I use to be one of the best but now I cannot I’m too stressed I told my grandparents but they just can’t take care of me since they live on another country, I just wish to get out here and be a teen who can focus on studying like I’m supposed too my mom recently told me she was going to start making me work which I have no problem with because since 13 I started to work but she told me I need to pay rent and the electricity bills which I find unbelievable because she treats me like garbage and cannot even notice I’m not happy or well, besides I will like to know too if I do move out can i take my brother with me I wouldn’t like him to live with them since they did him so much trauma.

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  • ccsmod3
    commented on Guest's reply
    Hey there. Thanks for reaching out to us here at NRS. We know that it can take a lot of courage to reach out for support, and we're glad you took that step. We're sorry to hear that you have a poor relationship with your family and know that that must be tough. That said, moving out to live with a boyfriend is a big step, and it can definitely come with some consequences based on your age. The concern wouldn't be with him helping you move out or taking your stuff, it would more so be with you living somewhere that your parents don't agree to. Without their consent, your boyfriend (or whomever you're living with) could be at risk of facing legal consequences based off of harboring a runaway. If your mom files a runaway report or a missing persons report and anyone is aware of your location, you could be returned home. It also sounds like your boyfriend might be an adult, which brings into question other laws around you two dating. If that is the case, he likely would be at risk of not only getting into trouble due to harboring a runaway, but also due to statutory rape. If he's a minor, this won't apply.

    If you'd like to talk in more detail about what's going on or explore your options, please feel free to give us a call here at NRS. You can reach us directly by phone by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY, or by popping into a live chat through our website at www.1800runaway.org. We're available 24/7 and are always happy to listen, and to help.

    Take care.

    NRS

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hi, I’m 16 years old I live in ***** and I have a very poor relationship with my family. I’ve been mentally abused by my mother and been controlled by her my whole life. She doesn’t pay for my clothing or shoes or basic needs along those lines. I have a job and a place to go with my boyfriend of very soon to be a year. My mom for a long time did not allow me to get a job and constantly punished/punishes me for things like forgetting to charge my phone at night and treats me very poorly especially compared to my siblings. The house and environment is very messy and cluttered and gross. There isn’t enough room in the house for the amount of people living there. I mentally can not take living there and have tried living with my dad and grandparents but my mother always finds a way to ruin the living situation to get me back Into her house. If I leave and live with my boyfriend if he doesn’t help me take my stuff or move it or anything like that can the police get me or him in trouble and can they force me back into my moms house?
    Last edited by ccsmod3; 01-18-2021, 02:47 AM. Reason: Edited to maintain confidentiality

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  • ccsmod13
    commented on Guest's reply
    Thank you for contacting NRS. It sounds like you are in a very difficult situation. We’re glad you reached out to us. No one deserves to be treated that way. It is your parent’s responsibility to provide a safe and supportive environment for you. If you feel you are in danger, you can always call 911.

    A potential resource is the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at www.childhelp.org or 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453). Childhelp is a 24-hour hotline with volunteers who can talk to you about your situation and provide resources that may be helpful to you.

    You could also consider contacting your local Division of Child Protective Services. The Virginia Department of Social Services operates a statewide Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-552-7096 to receive reports of child abuse and neglect and refer them to the appropriate local department of social services. The CPS Hotline is staffed by trained Protective Service Hotline Specialists. If you are uncomfortable making the call, you can call us and one of our volunteers can make the call with or for you.

    At NRS our main goal is to see that you are safe and off the street. If you leave home have you considered where you would go and how you would support yourself? We’re not legal experts, but we can provide some basic information that may be helpful to you. The age of majority (the age at which you can legally leave home) in Virginia is 18. Running away is not illegal. If you run away, your parents can file a runaway report. If you are picked up by the police they will likely take you back home. You should know that if you are staying with your boyfriend or a friend and you are picked up there, they could be charged with harboring a runaway.

    The way the police handle runaway and harboring cases varies from place to place. If you call the non-emergency number of your local police department they may be able to tell you how they handle runaway and harboring cases. If you are uncomfortable making the call, you can call us and one of our volunteers can make the call with or for you.

    You can also always call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We have volunteers available 24/7 to talk and to help you find resources that may be helpful to you.

    Thank you again for contacting NRS. We wish you the best!

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    hello i’m sixteen years old and i live in virginia. i live with my mom and my step dad, i want to leave and be on my own. my mom has put her hands on me and my sister in the past and i don’t feel safe living here. i’m unhappy and i can’t stay with my dad because he has problems with the law and is still trying to get through a case right now. i have been trying to plan to run away but i don’t want to be forced back home with her, i just would rather be on my own or go live with my boyfriend or a friend.

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  • ccsmod1
    commented on Guest's reply
    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. You deserve to be happy and to have your feelings and experiences acknowledged and validated. 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. If you'd like, you can also call us directly and we can conduct a conference call with your family so you have a safe environment where you can express yourself.

    It's great to hear that your dad is a support in your life. It may be beneficial to speak with your dad directly about your desire to live with him once you turn 16. Sometimes custody transfers will need to go through the family court system and it may be beneficial to speak with a legal advocate. If you need help locating a legal aid group near you you can check out https://www.lawhelp.org/find-help/.

    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

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hi, I'm Zayriah. I live in Memphis TN. I am 15 but I will be 16 in June. Its very hard living with my mom and her husband. My mom doesn't listen to me or care about what I need and my stepdad always has something negative to say and he always makes me sad and angry and he controls everything but his own kids. When I turn 16 my dad wants me to move to TX and I want to go. I do have history of being a runaway, But this time I want to tell her how I feel (even though it isn't gonna work) so I want have to go through all of the social worker and police officers and nosey family members. I just want to be happy and that is what I want to be happy. I really just want a way out. Tell me what should I do?

    Leave a comment:


  • ccsmod8
    commented on Guest's reply
    Hello there –

    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to reach out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline on our public forum. We are always here to listen and here to help in any way that we can.

    Now we aren't legal experts here and you might have already read on this forum thread about what could happen if you were to leave home before the age of majority. So we won’t get into that since you can find it fairly easily.

    Your parent(s) may give you permission to live with another family or relative, but without getting an official document from the court they would still be legally responsible for you. Which means that they can also take away that permission at any given moment and take you back home to live with them once again. So that can be an option for you if you feel like your parent(s) might respond well to you living someplace else or won’t go back on their word when they told you that you could leave home. Maybe coming up with a solid plan about what you’re planning on doing, how everything is going to work, and any miscellaneous things could be helpful in them seeing how much work you have put into this plan and presenting the ideas to both sides (ie. your mother and whomever you are trying to live with).

    Hope this was helpful and best of luck to you.

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hi I am 16 and looking for some help. I would like to move back to Colorado where I feel safe and happy. I love my mom but we moved to Mississippi a few months ago. I hate it. Can I move back to Colorado without my mom if I'm living with someone she knows and trusts? I just really need to go home because I hate Mississippi. I don't feel safe there. Can you help me?

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  • ccsmod0
    commented on Guest's reply
    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.

    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 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).

    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,

    NRS

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Can you stay at another person's house overnight, without parents consent at 16?

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  • ccsmod3
    commented on Guest's reply
    Thanks for reaching out to us here at National Runaway Safeline. We know that it can take a lot of courage to reach out for support, and we're glad you did. It sounds like there's quite a lot going on at home that has you feeling like you can no longer be there, but you're right in questioning if you'd be required to return home if you leave at 16 living in the US. The short answer is that IS possible you'd be returned home if you left without parental consent. One way to avoid any legal repercussions or being returned home is for you and your mom to agree on where you're going. It sounds like you have family that might be able and willing to take care of you, so that would be a good starting point. Another way to avoid any legal repercussions or being returned home is through emancipation, which you indicated you were not interested in. Unfortunately getting custody removed from a parent is a very complex process, and one that is not easily granted. Typically a parent would have to be considered unfit and/or unable to adequately provide for their children. And even then, Child Protective Services would first consider which measures could be put in place to ensure the children are getting what they need within the home before removing them from the home.

    All that said, there's really no one answer that we can give you at the moment. It might be beneficial for you to reach out to us directly by phone (1-800-RUNAWAY) or live chat (www.1800runaway.org), and we can discuss your specific situation in more detail. We may also be able to connect you with some legal resources in your area that can answer some of your questions a little better. We're available 24/7 through both phone and chat, and are always happy to listen, and to help.

    Take care,

    NRS

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I'm 15 years old and turn 16 soon. For the last 4 years and maybe more I've wanted to leave. At first I thought it was just a stunt and it would go away... but things here progressively keep getting worse. For starters my mother does not have a job. I know that's not a crime, but many needs go untaken care of. The money we do get my guardian gambles, she does have a skin condition that prevents her from doing certain things but she has made no effort to do other things. She wont allow me to get a job for some type of income either. She's always putting things off that absolutely need to be done. She's constantly yelling and talking bad about people I love. She's told my to leave on multiple occasions. She tells me I'm going to "fail in life". She's tried to manipulate me by isolating me and telling me she's the only one that cares about me. She's threatened to beat me on many occasions and claimed she would have one of her friends come "teach me a lesson on respect" Many of the things she has told me in the past have deep rooted. She's told me "if I ever kill myself its because of you". As previously stated she's constantly yelling and talking bad about people I love, all day every day. When people wont give her money she calls them drug addicts and when she's mad at me she tells me ill be just like them and ill die before I'm 21, I've never done anything to upset her I don't smoke, vape, cuss, sneak out etc. their are so many other things that have happened and i cant do this anymore. . I really want to leave and know where I want to go (family). I read that you could legally leave home at 16 without being forced back but I believe that was based in the UK, I live in the US. I do not want to become emancipated i just want to get my custody removed from her, as a minor I don't know what say I have in that or what i should do first. Any help?

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