Becoming an emancipated minor is a huge decision for a young person.
Not only is it a big decision to step away from your family to go it alone, but the legal ramifications can also be very complicated. It’s certainly not something every youth is well-equipped to take on.
However, if you feel that you’re ready to live your own life, it might just be the right decision to make. Today, we’re going to outline the steps you need to take in order to become an emancipated minor.
It can be a trying process, but we’ll take you through it so you can get it done and get on with your life as soon as possible.
What Does It Mean to Become An Emancipated Minor?
When you become an emancipated minor, you’re taking control of your own life. Your parents are no longer responsible for providing you with food, shelter, or clothing. You’re entitled to look for your own apartment, live on your own, and sign your own legal documents. It’s basically taking on the responsibilities of adulthood before you turn 18.
However, you can’t simply walk into a government office, fill out some paperwork, and become emancipated. First of all, you need to be between 14 and 16, depending on which state you live in. You also need to put forward a convincing argument that becoming an emancipated minor is in your best interest.
So, what are the steps that you need to take to become emancipated?
The Emancipation Process
When you look at the process from start to finish, it’s actually relatively simple. You’ll get the ball rolling by filing a petition for emancipation with your local court. In it, you’ll state why you want to become an emancipated minor and provide the court with proof that you’ll actually be able to support yourself financially.
After you’ve filed the petition, your parents or legal guardians will be notified of your decision and a court hearing will be scheduled. During the court hearing, you’ll present your case to a judge. If the judge deems your case to be sufficient, you’ll be provided with a Declaration of Emancipation.
You’ll need to present this legal document in lieu of parental or guardian consent. It’s important to do some research into the family law system where you live before you file your petition.
Preparing for Life On Your Own
Obviously, the most difficult thing that you’re responsible for, as an emancipated minor, is your own finances. The best thing you can do is try to find stable employment and save diligently. Stick to a monthly budget that allows you to cover rent and living expenses.
Once you’ve saved up to a comfortable amount, it’s good to have a separate emergency fund to cover unforeseen expenses or medical bills. As an emancipated minor, you’ll also be able to apply for a credit card. Make sure that you’re making regular payments, as bad credit will come back to haunt you in the future.
There Are Limits
Many youths that try to become emancipated minors are misguided in what you’re allowed to do. You can’t do everything that a legal adult can do until you’re 18, so things like driving, getting married, voting, and drinking alcohol might still be off-limits.
Despite all this, there are many freedoms that an emancipated minor has that other youths don’t. It’s a lot of responsibility and not something that you should take lightly. Think long and hard about this decision and whether it’s the right thing for you to do at this very moment.
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