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Montgomery County Emancipation of a Minor Attorney

Emancipating a Minor in Pennsylvania

Approximately half of the U.S. states have some legislation which allows courts to emancipate those under the age of 18. An emancipated minor is one granted specific and limited adult status. In Pennsylvania, orders of emancipation are extremely rare. Parents have a legal duty to provide care and support for their children until they are 18 years of age. Emancipation is a legal process that requires a judge’s order, which effectively terminates parental responsibility and allows a minor to have certain rights and responsibilities.

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The Court Process

If a minor decides to pursue the process of emancipation, they should strongly consider assistance from legal counsel to initiate proceedings in accordance with their county juvenile or family court. The parents of the minor are required to be notified of any such actions. The court will permit parents to speak and express their views concerning the matter. For court consideration, the minor must reside outside of their parent’s home, have the ability to financially support themselves, and have the capacity to independently manage their actions.

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Court Considerations

Some of the potential factors that the court will consider include:

  • The age of the minor
  • The minor’s marital, parental, and employment status
  • Their ability to be financially self-supportive
  • Any input from the parents
  • Educational considerations and consequences

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Alternatives to Emancipation

It is common for minors to be engaged in conflict with their parents, particularly during the teenage years approaching adulthood. Petitioning the court for emancipation is typically not the first solution. Often a temporary change of residence is possible, where the minor may live with a relative or other friend of the family. The parties may consider meeting with a family counseling or therapy professional to aid in dispute resolution.

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Minors in a Marriage or With Children

Orders of emancipation are not granted automatically when a minor is married or has a child of their own. Minors aged 16 or 17 must have parental consent to marry. Minors under 16 years of age must have parental consent and court approval to marry. Those with a child of their own do have rights in deciding on custody and care for their children. Pregnant or minor mothers have rights to make decisions on their own healthcare, with some exceptions such as abortion.

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Education and Schooling

A minor in Pennsylvania has the right to attend their district’s public schools, which is determined according to the address of their primary parent or guardian. A court order may allow for attendance at schools in alternate districts. Solely for purposes of schooling, the PA Code considers a married minor to be considered emancipated.

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Post-Emancipation Parental Obligations in Montgomery County

Emancipation relieves parents of legal responsibility and control of a minor, which includes potential civil liabilities. Parents are not responsible for further support or decisions associated with the minor’s finances or education. The minor who has been emancipated is not eligible for all privileges of an adult, such as voting rights, and may be deemed ineligible for certain public assistance benefits until reaching the age requirements.

Emancipating a minor is a court-based legal process that generally should be done with support from a retained family law professional. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. have over 25 years of experience in facilitating positive outcomes for our clients in matters such as divorce, custody, visitation, and marital asset distribution. To discuss your case, contact the office today at (610) 645-0100 to speak with a Montgomery County child custody attorney.

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Additional Information

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