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17y/o wishing to be emancipated

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  • 17y/o wishing to be emancipated

    Hello, I am a 17 year old female wishing to file for emancipation in the state off **********. My at home life is extremely toxic, my father who is mentally ill and beyond controlling has had full custody of me since I was 10, this has been so detrimental to my mental health. I do
    not believe I can healthily live another year under my fathers custody but no one in my family is willing to fight in court for custody of me. How do I start the emancipation process? Do I even have a chance at it? He just recently allowed me to start looking for a job so I will have the finances and my mother (who got all her rights of me taken away from her when I was 10) will allow me to live with her rent free and I have my own car. My father does not currently have a job or car and his parents are the ones who primarily take care for me even though he has full custody of me so he still controls everything I do. If I cannot get emancipated I know running away will be my only option, everyone has told me my father would get better but he has only gotten worse and I cannot live under these conditions no longer my mental health is getting worse everyday that he has custody of me. If my chances of getting emancipated are low what would be the repercussions of running away?
    Last edited by ccsmod5; 03-03-2021, 05:21 AM. Reason: confidentiality

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out, it sounds like things have been pretty overwhelming at home. We understand it can be difficult to take the step and reach out, we hope we can help.
    18 years old is generally the age that an individual may leave home without permission from their parent or legal guardian. We are not legal experts here but we can speak in general terms. If you are under 18 and leave home without permission, your parent/guardian may file a runaway report with the police. What actions the police take once you are filed as a runaway can vary a lot from state to state and even city to city so we cannot predict exactly what would happen in your case. Generally speaking, if you encounter a police officer while reported as a runaway, you will likely be returned home. However, in that case there may be services (family counseling, etc.) available to you as a youth in crisis/runaway but again, police procedures related to offering those services can be different based on your location or the details of your situation. Another thing to consider is that while running away is not a crime, a legal adult who allows you to stay with them may be putting themselves at risk for being charged with harboring a runaway. One way to find out the laws in your area is to call your local police and ask what their policies are regarding runaway youth.

    In regards to emancipation, we are not legal experts, but we can help you get a general sense of how emancipation works. Our general understanding is some states offer formal emancipation statutes while others do not unfortunately. Laws vary depending on your location, but in many states a minor can petition the court for emancipation to take responsibility for their own care before they turn 18. Generally speaking, courts are wary about granting emancipation. In most cases, you would have to prove in court that you have an income and can care for yourself financially, and that you are able to live separately from your parents. It also helps to be in good standing at school. The court will also factor in the mental and physical welfare of your parents in order to establish your best interest. Usually your legal guardian would have to agree to this in court. Once you are emancipated, you can legally choose where you live, but you might still find that you cannot sign a lease or build credit until you turn 18. The emancipation process can take several months or up to a year, and may cost money in the form of court fees and other expenses. Usually, the best way to learn about emancipation in your state is to contact a lawyer. You may also find information at your county family court. We can look up legal aid resources that may be able to help you with the process. Please do not hesitate to call or chat if you have questions, need legal resources, or need to talk. We can explore your situation, go over all your options, and come up with a plan and resources to deal with your situation over the phone or on live chat. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon, and wish you the best of luck.

    Stay strong,
    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)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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