Seeking emancipation while you are under 18 in Texas gives you the legal power to make your own decisions regarding legal actions, education, healthcare, and marriage. If you are involved in a situation where your parents will not consent to decisions that are in your best interests or your legal independence will help your family, call The Queenan Law Firm to learn more about emancipation.
Our Arlington, Texas emancipation lawyers can assist 16- and 17-year-olds seek emancipation from their parents or guardians and help families seek emancipation for their minor children to allow them to enter into contracts, get married, or file lawsuits on their own behalf. To schedule a initial consultation on your emancipation case, call our attorneys at (817) 476-1797.
Emancipation Under the Texas Family Code
The Texas Family Code lays out the rules and requirements for many family law issues in Texas, including the requirements and processes for seeking emancipation of a minor. § 32.001 and the following sections of the Code state what emancipation is, the requirements for a minor seeking emancipation, and the process in court for getting emancipation.
Emancipation is the legal process of removing the “disabilities” of being a minor. Until you are 18, your parents have the legal right to make the final decision regarding the following:
- Healthcare decisions (e.g., whether you can get elective surgery)
- Educational decisions (e.g., whether to homeschool you or prevent you from dropping out of high school)
- Whether to file a lawsuit on your behalf
- Whether to enter into a contract on your behalf
Minors also cannot get married. Before 2017, minors could get married with their parent’s consent, but today in Texas, you must be emancipated before you can get married as a minor.
Moreover, a parent may only be able to enter into a contract on your behalf to a certain extent. As a child, contracts have limited force to control your behavior or give you certain benefits. Emancipation may be necessary to allow you to enter into a business contract.
Requirements for Emancipation in Texas
The Family Code also lays out the requirements for emancipation. Anyone seeking emancipation in Texas must be
- A Texas resident
- 16 or 17 years old
- Financially independent from their parents or guardians
If you are 16 when you seek emancipation, you must also be living separately from your parents or guardians.
To request emancipation from a court, you must file a petition that explains why you want to be emancipated. This means explaining to the court what you will do with the emancipation and why you need emancipation to make those decisions. If you are seeking emancipation for marriage, so that you can choose to receive certain medical or surgical procedures your parents disapprove of, or so that you can enter into your own business agreements, these would be good facts to support your petition.
The court will analyze your case based on what they consider to be in your best interests. Decisions regarding child custody and other decisions involving minors always use the child’s best interests as the final deciding factor. If the court agrees that emancipating you will help benefit you, they should grant your petition, even if your parents object to your emancipation.
A parent’s consent and encouragement can go a long way toward helping you achieve emancipation. Many petitions for emancipation are used to help minors get married or enter into contracts, both of which may be intensely personal family decisions, and a court will typically see a parent’s support and encouragement as a positive factor that can help you seek emancipation.
One final important factor to understand is that you can file a petition for emancipation on your own. While minors typically need a parent or another responsible adult to file lawsuits and other petitions on their behalf, it would be an unfair restriction to require minors to get a parent’s permission or consent before filing for emancipation. Because of this, minors can file for emancipation on their own behalf. You can also hire an attorney to file the petition for you or to work with your family to file a petition with their consent and approval.
Contact Our Arlington Emancipation Lawyers for a Confidential Consultation
If you are a 16- or 17-year-old in Texas, you may want to seek emancipation to gain the authority to make decisions regarding your health, education, or marital status. Emancipation may also be necessary to seek justice by filing a lawsuit or to pursue business opportunities by entering into a contract. For help understanding your options in seeking emancipation, set up a consultation with our Arlington, TX emancipation attorneys. Call our law offices at (817) 476-1797 to schedule your legal consultation.