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Running away to a parent who doesn't have legal custody

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  • Running away to a parent who doesn't have legal custody

    I'm 14 and I'm planning the run away to my mom in Oklahoma. I'm in California right now. Id probably be mostly staying with my 17 year old sister during the summer time, she is usually with her boyfriend in Texas. But I'd like to enroll in school after summer. Are there certain documents I need to bring with me? My mom isn't my legal guardian and probably couldn't apply to be anyways because she has a drug problem. I'm very good at taking care of myself, as I've been doing it 14 years already. I need to get out of my house with my dad. If I run away to Oklahoma, can I get a job? I know a place that hires at 14, but will I be able to fill out the legal documents necessary? Please get back to me soon about the education and job questions.

  • #2
    Hey there thanks for reaching out to NRS,
    That seems like a complicated situation and that you would feel more comfortable at your other parent’s house. It can be understandable to want a change and to want to ask for options that would make things go smoother.
    If you were to leave now before turning 18 and without your guardian’s permission then they could file a runaway report. This means police would try to find you and bring you back home. If you were at your mom’s in Oklahoma, even if she is a biological parent, without custody rights they could still force you to go home. Your mom, or sister could potentially get in trouble as well with a harboring a runaway charge.
    If you do get to the point that you are settled at your moms in Oklahoma there are certain rules for working and getting an education etc. In order to enroll in school you usually need guardian permission. For a job you would also need guardian permission and would probably be limited to around 10 hours of work a week maximum to not break any child labor laws.
    Other than that bringing any form of Identification with you would be important, or at least a picture. Such as birth certificate, state ID card, or passport if you have one. These would help you get enrolled, or get a job, or even get other help if you needed it.

    Hopefully you find this information helpful, if you have more questions, or just need someone to talk with please reach out to our hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY or use our online chat function at
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)


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