Child Emancipation

Child Emancipation is the process by which minor children are separated from their parents’ control, financial support and household. An emancipated minor’s rights include “signing contracts, being a plaintiff or defendant to a lawsuit, keeping whatever money the minor earns, living away from the parents, approving health care and medical procedures, getting married, writing a will, and enrolling in school,” according to the FindLaw article, “Selected State Minor Emancipation Laws.”

Although emancipation allows a minor the rights and responsibilities of a legal adult, there are still age-related restrictions that apply. For instance, emancipated minors must still adhere to the legal ages for drinking (21), school attendance (16), and voting (18).

Oakland County Family Lawyer explains Child Emancipation Process

There are two ways that minors can become emancipated, either by operation of law or petition. “A youth may be emancipated by operation of law when he or she is legally married (In Michigan, minors can wed as young as 16 with parental consent.); turns 18 years of age; or is on active duty with the United States Armed Forces,” according to Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates family law attorney Jeffry Worosz. “This statute also provides limited emancipation for medical care when the minor is in the custody of a law enforcement agency or in the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections.”

A minor can request child emancipation by filing a petition with his/her County’s Circuit Court. Included in the petition must be:

  • The minor’s full name and date, County and State of birth
  • Names and addresses of the minor’s parent(s), guardian or custodian
  • Minor’s address and length of residency there
  • Certified copy of the Birth Certificate
  • Declarations that the minor has demonstrated the ability to handle his or her financial, social and personal affairs

The petition must also include an affidavit from a professional familiar with the minor’s circumstances and capabilities, stating that emancipation is in the youth’s best interests. This person can be a doctor or nurse; member of the clergy; police officer; psychologist; social worker or school administrator or teacher.

Once the petition is filed, the youth’s parent(s) or guardian and the person who provided the affidavit are summoned to a hearing. At this point, the courts may assign an investigator to prepare a report. Attorneys may be assigned to the minor and/or his or her parents. The court may also dismiss the petition if the custodial parent does not consent to the emancipation and is supporting the minor.

In order for child emancipation to be ordered, the minor must demonstrate that:

  • Child Emancipation is in his/her best interests
  • His/her parents do not object to the petition OR that the parents are not supporting their child financially
  • He or she is at least 16 years old and a legal resident of the state of petition
  • He or she can manage his or her own finances without aid from state or federal agencies. This can be demonstrated with proof of employment or other means of support.
  • The minor can show management of his or her social and personal affairs with proof of housing.
  • He or she understands the rights and responsibilities of an emancipated youth.

Worosz explains that the child emancipation orders can be rescinded by the Circuit Court that originated the order if the minor or his/her parents petition for it and prove that the youth is indigent or that there is a resumption of family relations. A minor and his or parents can also agree to petition for termination of the child emancipation order. “If [rescission] happens, the parents ‘are not liable for any debts incurred by the minor during the period of emancipation.’” according to the FindLaw article, “Selected State Minor Emancipation Laws.”

Family Law attorneys, like Worosz, are experienced with the local Circuit Courts and can help minors or their parents through the child emancipation process. Contact the law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 in Milford, Michigan for inquiries regarding child emancipation in Michigan.

Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates have many satisfied clients throughout the five counties of Southeastern Michigan – OaklandWashtenaw, Wayne, Genesee and Livingston. The Michigan Family Law Attorneys of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates have one simple objective: to handle our clients’ legal worries so they can concentrate on life and family. Contact Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates today to learn more about our experience and success at 248-676-1000. We are conveniently located in Milford, Michigan. We help clients throughout Milford; Highland; Hartland; White Lake; Commerce; Waterford; West Bloomfield; Walled Lake; South Lyon; New Hudson; Wixom; Linden; Holly; Fenton; Grand Blanc; Flint and many more local communities.

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