"Emancipated" Mean

What Does “Emancipated” Mean?

In most states, a person is considered a child until you reach the age of 18.

Until they become of age, they are under the legal custody of their parent or guardian. On their 18th birthday, they are legally given adult status and the ability to get an adult bail bond if they should get arrested. To be emancipated means to become a legal adult before the traditional, legal age of 18.


Minors who are emancipated and adults do not need the permission of their parents to:

  • receive medical care
  • sign a legal contract
  • enroll in a vocational school
  • do anything else that would ordinarily require their parent’s permission.

There are multiple ways that a minor can become emancipated. However, this is not an easy decision for any minor to make. There are many consequences that must be considered before making this decision. In this article, we will review information about the pros and cons of becoming emancipated and the ways that a minor can do it.

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Reasons to getting Emancipated

Even though many children dream about living on their own without help from an adult, sometimes adults find themselves having a hard time amounting to their responsibilities. Although this may seem a sure reason to get emancipated, it’s important to compare the pros and cons before making a final decision.

Try considering the following situations:

  • Finding a place to live
  • Paying for your own health care coverage
  • Keeping yourself financially responsible
  • Purchasing and cooking your own food

However, often enough being emancipated is a great idea. Here are a few conditions in which you should consider being emancipated from your legal guardians:

  • Being financially independent
  • Your parents are in jail and you are unable to get bail bond
  • To leave abusive or neglecting parents
  • You are currently living in poor conditions

Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of being emancipated, let’s go over the process of becoming legally emancipated from your legal guardians.

Becoming Emancipated Without a Legal Declaration

Although you can get emancipated without a legal declaration, it limits your options and also requires the permission of your legal guardians. However, in select states, you can get married before you reach the age of majority, which allows you to become emancipated without a legal declaration.

For example, in the state of Pennsylvania, if you are 16 years old to 18, you can get married with automatic emancipation. Often enough, the local government has the right to decide whether or not becoming emancipated is legal without court approval.
Other options to get emancipated without court approval include joining the army, however, this involves getting parental permission.

Becoming Emancipated Through a Court Order

If you don’t serve in the army or have a spouse, or simply cannot get a parental sign-off for your emancipation, you can file for a court order to do so. However, select states such as Maryland and Delaware do not allow minors to become emancipated through a court order. Most states only emancipate minors who are at least 16 years old.

Below, are the most common considerations courts take to determine whether or not to emancipate a person:

  • If they are financially stable
  • If they are mature enough to live as an adult
  • Enrolled in higher education
  • If they have suitable living arrangements

Even though state laws vary for emancipation proceedings, most states charge a filing fee of at least $200. Even though you can file your emancipation case with your local court, you still have to let your legal guardian know that you are filing. From there, the court will set a date for your emancipation hearing.

During the hearing, the judge will observe evidence and ask questions reasoning why you should be emancipated. Once the judge rules in your favor, you will be then given a declaration of emancipation that you can give to your doctor, landlord, school, etc.

Find Out More Information

Emancipation laws vary from state to state. Most minors do not know how to go about becoming emancipated and are unable to discuss the process with their families. However, for those with legitimate reasons to get emancipated and the ability to take care of themselves, this is a crucial legal process. For more information, consider contacting a local family law attorney to act as a guide through the process.

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