If I’m under 16 but want to be legally seperated from my parents, what do I have to do?

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2015

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If I’m under 16 but want to be legally seperated from my parents, what do I have to do?

Asked on June 21, 2015 under Family Law, Iowa


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

A legal emancipation can be an option for a minor who is at least 16 years old and can demonstrate that they are able to make their own adult decisions. An emancipated child can choose where they will live. However, the minor will also be held responsible for any contracts signed and be responsible for supporting themself. 

To qualify, the child must be at least 16 years old and at 1 of the following:
  1. The parents agree to let the minor live on their own; 
  2. The parents agree to let the minor live out of the family home for at least 3 months; or 
  3. The minor can give reasons why the home of their parents is not a healthy or safe environment. 
 In order to be emancipated, the child must show the court how they are self-sufficient. This includes:
  • Proof of employment (government assistance doesn't count as employment);
  • Showing that the minor can handle their own personal affairs; and
  • Showing that the minor is able and committed to going to school, a training program or obtaining employment.

For more information you can contact a local youth group or social services agency. You can also reach out to a minister or trusted teacher.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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