The relationship between parents and their children is often the most rewarding and frustrating either will experience. If that frustration overflows to become an ongoing confrontation, either the child may run away, or the parents may tell a teenage child to move out. Families should avoid this solution — state and federal laws are clear that minors are considered juvenile delinquents if they leave home, and parents can face charges of child abandonment unless the minor is emancipated, gets married or joins the military.
Emancipation of a minor
A minor who is a resident of Texas can petition for the removal of disabilities of minority for emancipation when they are 17 (and live apart from parents when they are 16). If they do this, they are entitled to:
- Support themselves
- Be in control of their finances
- Make educational decisions
- Litigate without a next friend or guardian
- Make all legal decisions
They can nevertheless not legally vote, consume tobacco products or drink alcohol until they are the appropriate legal age.
The adult must approve
A parent, guardian or conservator must verify the petition, which means they sign it under oath in front of an attorney. If the parents’ whereabouts are unknown, then an ad litem or amicus attorney appointed by Court Order to represent the child must verify the petition.
Handle these matters delicately
A legal separation of parent and child should be handled carefully to ensure the well-being of the child. Some children start their careers young or mature at a young age, but the vast majority will still benefit from the care and support of a parent, guardian or conservator. An experienced Board-Certified Family Law expert who works in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, or elsewhere in Texas can help ensure that emancipation and the rights of those involved are appropriately handled.