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How to Become an Emancipated Minor

If you are under 18 and are ready for independence, emancipate yourself with help from these tips.


  • Step 1: Check state laws Check the law in your state to see if it allows emancipation. Each state is different.
  • TIP: Misconduct by a parent can lead to emancipation; if this is the case, and you need assistance, contact child protective services in your area.
  • Step 2: Use a mediator Use a mediator to avoid involving the courts. A mediator is trained to help you and your parents communicate with each other and reach a mutual agreement.
  • Step 3: Contact an attorney Contact an attorney specializing in minor emancipation if your problems are not solved with the help of a mediator.
  • TIP: Attorneys are expensive, but often can be found at low-cost rates or even pro bono. Check with your state’s legal aid office.
  • Step 4: File your court case File your case with the court. The jurisdiction will vary from state to state, but in some cases, the circuit court will hear your case. Your attorney will help you with this step.
  • Step 5: Present your case Gather your information and present your case to the court. Make sure you are specific about your reasons for wanting emancipation and include information about how you will care for yourself.
  • Step 6: Get parents’ agreement Get your parents to agree to the emancipation. In many states, this is an essential part of the emancipation process. Emancipation means responsibility, so be sure you are ready.
  • FACT: Did you know? Actress Drew Barrymore successfully petitioned juvenile court for an emancipation decree at the age of 15.

You Will Need

  • A state allowing emancipation
  • A mediator
  • Your parentsu2019 agreement
  • Child protective services (optional)
  • Attorney (optional)

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