Under the law, a minor can be emancipated by the court for one or more of several reasons. To be emancipated means that the child is “legally” an adult and no longer requires parental supervision even though they may not have yet reached the age of majority (age 18 in most states).
If a minor is granted emancipation by the court, the child gains certain rights and benefits normally reserved for adults. These include the right to sue and bring actions in court without the need for an adult filing as “Next Friend”, the right to marry and the right to join the military without parental permission.
Emancipated minors may also choose to live where they please, enter into contracts and own property. They can obtain medical care without a parent’s signature and they can manage their own money.
But emancipation isn’t just about benefits. An emancipated minor is also responsible for any contracts he or she signs and can be sued in court just like an adult. They are responsible for their own well-being which means that they must earn their own living, pay their own bills and find their own place to live – their parents will no longer be responsible for these things.
Emancipated minors are also no longer eligible for state assistance normally offered to children. They will, however, still be eligible to receive any assistance normally offered to adults.
Some states also recognize “partial” emancipation as an alternative to complete emancipation. In these instances, the child will be awarded certain rights, such as the right to manage their own money or the right to choose their own school but will still fall under their parents’ supervision for all other matters.