Emancipation is a process by which a minor child gains legal adulthood. Legal adulthood allows minors to sign documents on their own behalf, work and own property as full adults with all the rights and obligations thereof. This is, typically, a rare process. This article will explore the methods by which a child may emancipate themselves and whether or not your child could do it without your input or permission.
First of all, this is a sensitive legal topic. Teenagers are consumed by their own emotional turmoil as they move between childhood and adulthood. It is natural for them to consider or threaten emancipation from their parents. The question then becomes, how likely is this process?
There are two primary procedural issues that typically must be settled before any child can seek emancipation. First, that child must be of the appropriate age. Each state designates its own appropriate age. Additionally, the child must notify their parents of the emancipation proceedings. The parents are given the option to object and, depending on the state in which the proceeding is being heard, will either stop the case in its tracks or simply be another step in the process. For example, in Michigan, if a parent objects to emancipation, then the court may or may not dismiss the matter.
Whenever children are involved, the court always considers it from the perspective of the best interests of the child. This means that all relevant evidence to determine what is best for the child will be considered and the court will be guided in its reasoning only by this central maxim. Generally, this means the court must decide if the child is better off with his or her parents or on their own.
If you have any questions regarding the emancipation process or the likelihood of success then you may want to speak to an attorney. Often the best way to stave off an emancipation proceeding is to cut the legal process out and speak to your child or parents directly. Communication breakdowns underlie most family law disputes.