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What is emancipation?

Typically, a parent is responsible for his or her child until the child is the age of majority, which is 18 in the United States. If a child decides to apply for emancipation, that could result in the minor no longer being under the care of his or her parents or guardians. If you're considering filing for emancipation, your attorney can help you do so.

What happens when emancipation is awarded?

When emancipation is achieved, the minor gains all the rights and privileges of being an adult. Certain things, like buying cigarettes or alcohol, are still restricted until 18 and 21, respectively.

Emancipation is more likely to take place if it's in the best interests of the minor and the minor is able to support him or herself. The maturity of the minor is also considered before the court will rule on the case.

What are the benefits of emancipation?

There are a few benefits to emancipation. The minor can get an apartment or enter into lease agreements without a parent's signature, can sue and can choose to enroll in any school he or she chooses, assuming the school accepts the application. Public benefits are allowed for minors who are emancipated, and any income earned can stay in their possession. Finally, the minor can make all health care decisions on his or her own behalf.

Are there drawbacks to emancipation?

There are some drawbacks to emancipation, though. Parents no longer need to financially support the minor, which could pose a problem if the minor is not financially stable. Child support obligations are also invalidated and cease when emancipation is granted.

Source: FindLaw, "Emancipation of Minors Basics," accessed July 12, 2016

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