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Petition to Courts

Minors petitioning their state courts for emancipation from their parents’ care and control are normally required to prove their age and that they are residents of the state where the petition is being filed. They must tell the court why they seek emancipation. Parents must be given notice of the proceeding. Also, the minors must show the court that they are of sufficient maturity to care for themselves. This means that they are able to support themselves financially, provide for their own shelter, and make decisions on their own behalf. Some states require that the minors already support themselves and live totally or partially on their own. Most statutes exclude state financial support or “general assistance” when determining minors’ ability to support themselves.

The court then looks at all the evidence in order to determine whether emancipation is in the minor’s best interest. Also, since an order for emancipation must be in the minor’s best interest, if the minor’s situation changes, such an order may be rescinded by the court and the minor declared to be returned to the parents’ care and control. The state of Illinois allows for court decrees of “partial” emancipation, where the court clearly states the limits of emancipation, if such an order is in the best interests of the minor.

States with no statutory provision or procedures for minors to apply for emancipation may still determine or confirm that minors have been emancipated. Minors file a petition with the court and provide the information necessary (such as proof of financial independence, adequate housing arrangements, and sufficient maturity) for the court to determine that such a confirmation of emancipation from parental care and control is in the best interests of the minor.

Inside Petition to Courts