Emancipation of a Minor
Adulthood affords people certain legal rights that they lack as children. Typically, people must wait until they turn eighteen to gain such rights, but, in certain circumstances, they may be able to obtain them earlier. Specifically, Texas law allows minors to be emancipated in certain circumstances, which in part grants them the right to make legal decisions on their behalf. Emancipation comes with benefits and risks, and it is important for anyone with questions regarding the emancipation of a minor to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Dallas family-law attorneys of McClure Law Group are mindful of the weight of the decision to seek emancipation, and we can counsel you regarding what the process entails and the ramifications of obtaining emancipation.Implications of Emancipation of a Minor
In Texas, anyone under the age of eighteen is considered a minor and carries the “disabilities of minority.” In other words, they are subject to restrictions with regard to their legal capacity. The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) allows children to seek emancipation, which is the process through which they obtain many of the same legal rights as adults. Emancipation legally severs the relationship between a minor and their parents. As such, the parent of an emancipated minor no longer has a duty to provide food or shelter for the child, and neither parent will be required to pay child support.
Emancipated minors can consent to or reject medical care, manage their own income, enter into contracts, marry, and make other decisions typically made by their parent or legal guardian. Notably, however, emancipation does not grant them the right to vote, consume alcohol or tobacco, or impart other age-based rights.Eligibility for Seeking Emancipation of a Minor
Pursuant to the Code, the courts will only grant emancipation of a minor in certain circumstances. Specifically, children seeking emancipation must be Texas residents who are at least seventeen years old and must possess the ability to support themselves and manage their own finances. Minors who live away from their parents or guardians can seek emancipation when they are only sixteen years old.
A court may grant emancipation of a minor for specific or general purposes. For example, a court may grant a minor emancipation for the purposes of entering into a specific contract or consenting to medical care.The Process of Seeking Emancipation of a Minor
Anyone who wishes to seek emancipation must follow the procedure set forth under the Code. Specifically, they have to file a petition for emancipation, setting forth their name, place of residence, and age, and the name and place of residence of each living parent, managing conservator, or guardian. The petition must also set forth the reasons why the removal of the disabilities of minority is in the best interest of the minor and the grounds for requesting the removal.
A petition for emancipation must be verified by at least one of the minor’s parents or the child’s legal guardian or conservator. If the child cannot locate a person to verify the petition, the court may appoint an attorney to provide a verification. The court will also appoint an attorney to represent the minor’s interests at the emancipation hearing. After the court issues an order emancipating a child, the child must file a copy of the order in the deeds records of a Texas county. After doing so, the minor has the capacity of an adult.Consult a Skilled Dallas Attorney
If you or your child wish to seek emancipation, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss the benefits and potential risks. The skilled Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group can answer your questions and guide you through the process of seeking your desired outcome. We regularly help people with a variety of family-law issues in divorce matters in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, Rockwall, and Garland. We also represent parties in family-law cases in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Denton, Collin, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us through our online form, or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a consultation.