Am I able to get emancipated?
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Am I able to get emancipated?
I am 16 years old. My parents are abusive and I want to get away from them. I’m too scared to call the police because foster homes have worse conditions than what I have. They won’t let me move out. Can I get emancipated, and can I ask my judge to not have them present at my hearing for the fear that they will harm me?
Asked on November 27, 2010 under Family Law, Pennsylvania
M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 12 years ago | Contributor
In PA, there are no set procedures to get a declaration of emancipation from a court. However, certain events automatically result in a minor becoming emancipated. They include marriage or entry into the military. Also, a minor can be emancipated in order receive a specific benefit or service that government agencies provide; they typically have the authority to decide if a minor is emancipated for purposes of authorizing benefits/services that they administer (therefore, for those purposes only, it is not necessary for a minor to go to court to be declared emancipated).
However, in general you would have to go to court in order to become emancipated. A hearing will be held on any request for emancipation, so the court can get the necessary information to make its decision. This information includes facts showing: whether the minor is living with his/her parents or guardians; whether the minor is dependent on his/her parents for financial support; whether the parents and the minor intend for the minor to be independent; whether the parents are actually exercising control and authority over the minor; and whether the minor can financially support him/herself.
If you are emancipated you should be aware that state law says a minor must stay in school until age 17 or until age 16 so long as the minor has a job during school hours and holds an employment certificate. Additionally, parents or guardians of a minor emancipated by court order, are no longer required to give the minor any financial support. This means they do not have to provide food, housing, clothing or any other assistance to the minor.
At this point, you should should try and get some counseling or at least legal assistance. Talk to your school counselor, a minister, or other trusted adult. You can go for legal help to legal aid, a law school free clinic (if there is one close by), or contact the state/county bar association for "pro bono" (free) legal advice.
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