Is it legal for parents to force their 17 year old daughter to leave the US against her will?

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Is it legal for parents to force their 17 year old daughter to leave the US against her will?

My girlfriend is 17 and Pakistani. She is a citizen of the United States, but was born in Pakistan and her parents moved here with her when she was a baby. When they found out that she was dating me (I am her age, if that information is relevant) they decided to move back to Pakistan after she graduates high school. She does not want to leave the US but she doesn’t turn 18 for almost 6 months. Can they force her to leave the country?

Asked on March 2, 2012 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can.  She is still a minor and she is under the control of her parents.  They are responsible for her until she is 18.  If she ishes to try and declare herself independent then she can look in to the possibility of emancipating herself.  Is she applying to college here in the US?  That is one way to do so.  She should consult with an adult that she trusts to discuss the option.  But remember: parents realy believe that they do what they think is best for a child.  I am sure that her parents are no different.  Good luck.


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