How to Become an Emancipated Minor

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's a common theme on E! True Hollywood Story, but the fact is that becoming an emancipated minor isn't as easy as celebrities may make it out to be.

And it's not always about money, either.

While it's possible to become an emancipated minor via marriage or enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces, emancipation is most often sought by minors who, as a result of a complicated familial situation, feel that they need to end ties with their legal guardian.

Here's how they do it.

First, it's important to understand what it means to become an emancipated minor.

An emancipated minor is, by definition, a person under the age of 18 who petitions the court, asking a judge to grant him the legal right to care for himself and take on adult responsibilities.

In addition to being responsible for his own support, an emancipated minor is granted special legal rights, such as the ability to enter into contracts and consent to his own medical care.

He may still not vote or drink alcohol.

Before a court will award these rights, a minor must show that he is of statutory age (usually 16) and that emancipation is in his best interest.

A judge will consider whether the petitioner is sufficiently mature, has the ability to provide income shelter, is obtaining an education, and the state of his relationship with his parents.

Minors are always required to notify their parents, giving them a chance to raise objections.

If it isn't clear, "best interest" is a subjective inquiry, which often means that, barring extreme circumstances, it's difficult to become an emancipated minor.

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