What is the law regarding moving out without being emancipated?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the law regarding moving out without being emancipated?

I am adopted and want to move out. My mom is physically and emotionally abusive. I just want to go live with my biological father and stepmother, a friend, or a teacher that is like family to me. I’m 17 in 3 months and I just can’t live in my house anymore. It’s getting really hard living there. I don’t want to get emancipated though.

Asked on September 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Washington


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  You are a strong and brave young person to write in for help and I hope that I can guide you here.  So becuase your adopted Mom is your Mom under the law, if you run away or move out she can have you brought back to her.  If you are being abused it should be reported.  What will happen then is that you will likely be placed with Child Protective Services.  They will look to place you somewhere safe. They will make every effort to place you with a family member rather than the foster system.  Have you spoke with your biological Father?  Technically if you were adopted then he has no legal rights as they apply to you any longer so he would not be considered a relative.  Sometimes, though, if a trusted adult steps forward during proceedings you can be placed with them but that is not always the case.  Some one can, though, apply for guardianship of you and given your age the court will consider your wishes. Speak with those that you trust.  See of they will help.  Having a lawyer ready with papers for guardianship can be a good idea too. If your teacher is aware of the abuse he or she has a legal duty to report it.  It may be rough getting settled until the dust settles with placement but you know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. You are taking the first step to a new life and I can not tell you how much I look up to you for doing this.  You should be very proud of yourself.  I wish you only good days ahead.  Good luck.

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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