The law has long recognized that children under the age of 18 do not enjoy the same rights as adults—a minor may void a contract entered into before the age of majority, and often will be subject to different treatment for the commission of a crime. There are circumstances, however, where a minor may legally acquire the rights and responsibilities of an adult. Such a minor is considered to be legally “emancipated.”
The Ways a Minor Can Become Emancipated
The emancipation of a minor is governed on a state-by-state basis. Emancipation may occur automatically or by operation of law, but only in two circumstances: where the minor has enlisted in the military, or when the minor gets legally married. In all other instances, emancipation will only take place upon the filing of a petition by either a parent or the minor.
Under the laws of most states, to qualify for emancipation, a minor must:
- Reside in the county where the petition is filed
- Be of a state-specified minimum age
- Understand and want to be emancipated (although some jurisdictions hold that, if a minor voluntarily resides somewhere
- Be financially self-sufficient
Related GetLegal.TV Videos
Regardless of who files the petition, the judge must weigh all the evidence and make a determination as to whether emancipation is in the minor’s best interests. In establishing the minor’s best interests, the court will typically look at
- The age of the minor
- The ability of parents to provide basic support
- The mental and physical welfare of all parties, should emancipation be granted
After Emancipation: The Rights and Duties of All Parties
In most instances, when the court grants emancipation, all duties owed by the parents are terminated. This includes the obligation to provide food, shelter, medical care, educational assistance and money to meet basic needs. The court may order what is known as an “implied partial emancipation,” which requires parents to ensure the physical welfare of the child, but allows the child to retain all compensation or income from any source.
Once legally emancipated, the minor has most of the rights inherent with adulthood—to enter into contracts, earn and spend wages, attend school. However, the emancipation of a minor does not confer certain rights, including the ability to purchase of possess alcohol, or obtain certain licenses.
Uber Employee or Uber Independent Contractor? It Depends Where You Ask.
Increasingly, people are using their cars for work – not only to get to and from the workplace, bu…Read More 12 Oct 2018, Friday
Reporting and Recovering from Consumer Fraud
In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network received over 2.5 million report…Read More 11 Oct 2018, Thursday
Non-compete Agreements for Non-managerial Employees
Non-compete agreements have become increasingly common in the past few years. Their appeal to employ…Read More 10 Oct 2018, Wednesday