Is getting divorced from your parents at the age of 16 legal?

UPDATED: Mar 2, 2012

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Is getting divorced from your parents at the age of 16 legal?

If so how do you do it? My friend’s mother has a drinking problem and verbally abuses her and has made my friend attempt suicide more than once. Her mother has become very dangerous and I have witnessed the things she says and does. My friend’s father lives out of state but she does not want to go live with him because she would have to go to a very harsh school in a bad area. My friend’s grades are suffering and she is in a bad environment. She just wants help and needs to get out before she gets hurt. She is a very nice and great person with a part time job and everything.

Asked on March 2, 2012 under Family Law, Tennessee


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your friend sounds like a very strong peson and is lucky to have a friend like you to take an interest in her.  What you mean here is really called emanciaption of a minor.  It is where a peron under 18 asks the court to allow them to be treated like an adult and out from under their parents rule.  It does not make them adult for everything - like being able to drink - but it makes them independnet.  Now, courts grant emancipation when a person can show that they have a sort of plan about their lives: a job, a place to live, a plan for continuing school, health insurance, etc.  I am going to give you a link here to tennessee legal aid.  Good luck to you all.  PS your parents can help her or any adult that she trusts can help her too.

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