Sometimes known as “divorcing” your parents, emancipation consists of taking yourself away from the legal control of your parents and having yourself treated like your own person in the eyes of the law. If you want to enter into a contract, file a lawsuit, or get married while you are under 18, you may need to file for emancipation.
The Dallas, TX emancipation attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm can tell you more about your rights and what emancipation can do to help in your case. Contact our law offices to schedule a consultation and learn more about how emancipation can help you make your own legal, educational, and healthcare decisions. Our number is (817) 476-1797.
The Benefits of Emancipation in Texas
If you are 16 or 17 and want to end your legal relationship with your parents so that you can make decisions on your own regarding contracts, lawsuits, education, healthcare, and marriage, you may want to seek emancipation. Minors in Texas are typically considered to have a legal “disability” that stops them from making many of these decisions in their own right. Instead, their parents have the ability to make the final decision regarding healthcare and education, and the parent or guardian usually enters into contracts and files lawsuits on behalf of their child, meaning the parents usually get control of any profits, awards, or benefits instead of the child.
Emancipation, mechanically speaking, removes your legal disability of being under 18 and gives you personal control over these decisions. An emancipated minor can do any of the following in their own right:
- Form contracts
- Get married
- Make healthcare decisions
- Make educational decisions (e.g., end homeschooling in favor of traditional schooling, leave school entirely)
- Buy, own, and manage your own property
Unlike other minors, you will no longer need your parents’ permission or consent to make these choices, and you are treated like an adult in most legal ways.
Even if you are emancipated, you cannot vote or purchase cigarettes; you need to wait until you are 18 before you can legally smoke or cast a ballot. Moreover, you must still wait until age 21 to buy alcohol.
Requirements for Emancipation Under the Texas Family Code
Texas Family Code § 32.001 and the following sections govern the requirements you must meet to get emancipated. These rules also lay-out the requirements for what your petition to the court must contain and how your case proceeds.
First, it is important to understand that you can file a petition for emancipation by yourself. Since the goal of emancipation is to give you the legal right to make your own decisions, you do not need a parent or guardian to file for emancipation on your behalf.
Second, you must meet the prerequisites for seeking emancipation:
- You must be a resident of Texas.
- You must be 16 or 17 years old. If you are 18, you will already be your own adult person and emancipation would be unnecessary. Moreover, the law does not allow emancipation for people 15 or younger.
- If you are 16 years old, you must prove that you live separately from your parents.
- You must be financially independent of your parents or guardian and able to manage your own finances.
The petition itself must contain your name and contact info as well as the name and address of your primary parent or guardian. In addition, it must contain your reasons for seeking emancipation, including what legal decisions you want to be emancipated for.
After you file your petition, the court should schedule a hearing to decide whether your emancipation should be granted. At this hearing, the court will consider your best interests. In many legal questions involving minors, the court’s ultimate deciding factor should be whether the decision is in your best interests.
If the court does not find that you are sufficiently able to support yourself in your current state, the court may deny your petition for emancipation. Having an attorney represent you can help you put forth the strongest arguments in favor of emancipation in your case. Your attorney can also speak to your parents, potentially securing permission for your emancipation.
Contact our Dallas Emancipation Lawyers to Setup a Confidential Consultation
If you are considering getting married, entering into a contract, or making other legal decisions in your life, the fact that you are under 18 may prevent you from doing so. Call The Queenan Law Firm today to discuss your options for emancipation and gaining the legal right to control your present and your future. Our Dallas emancipation lawyers offer confidential legal consultations to help you understand your options. Call our law offices at (817) 476-1797 today to schedule a consultation.