The legal age of adulthood is 18, although many parents continue to provide resources for their children until they finish high school or possibly even well into college or trade school. Having parental support for longer can help set a young adult up for success in their independent future life.
However, not every family operates with the same dynamic. There are some young adults who may need to change the kind of relationship that they have with their parents in order to make their own medical decisions or further their plans for the future, such as pursuing a specific educational opportunity.
When parents and teens reach an impasse regarding major legal decisions, sometimes the teen’s only option is to seek independence and assume responsibility over their own life. That’s where emancipation comes in.
Emancipation is possible for teens in specific situations
Young adults who are not yet 18 can qualify for emancipation in several ways, including:
- Becoming a parent or being pregnant
- Entering into the military
- Getting married or entering into a civil union
Going to court is the only option for those who don’t meet any of the other criteria.
Obtaining a court order
Obtaining a court order for emancipation often requires evidence regarding why such a change is necessary. If parents have prevented a teen from seeking necessary medical care or limited their educational opportunities, those both might present compelling reasons for the courts to emancipate them.
Both teenagers seeking emancipation and parents trying to avoid it will need to learn about the complicated family law process that leads to emancipation and its implications for the family unit. An attorney experienced in this area of law can provide guidance.