While many states do allow emancipation of a minor prior to reaching the age of majority, it is only allowed under certain circumstances. Granting emancipation means that the child is “on their own” and the parents are no longer obligated to provide care and financial assistance. Because of this, the courts are typically hesitant to grant emancipation if there is a better option.
Sometimes, for example, minors seek emancipation because of abuse or neglect but in most cases, the courts prefer to provide the child with assistance rather than just declare them to be an adult. Depending upon the age of the child and the situation at home, the state may choose to remove the child from the home and place them in foster care. This placement can be temporary or permanent, depending again upon the individual circumstances.
Alternatively, the state may refer the child to a social worker and order that the parent attend some form of parenting education classes.
If there are no signs of actual abuse or neglect, the state may suggest that the child temporarily live with another family member or friend to allow both the child and the parent to gain a different perspective on their differences.
In some cases, government assistance may be given to a child. Your state may also have other assistance programs in place to help you until you are able to return home.
In extreme cases, the state may terminate or suspend the parents’ rights and award (permanent or temporary) custody of the child to an alternative family member, making them the legal guardian of the minor.
If you are a minor considering emancipation, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney or an adult you can trust about your situation and find out what your options are.