Emancipation 101




plural noun: emancipations 

  1. Emancipation of minors is a legal mechanism by which a child before attaining the age of majority is freed from control by their parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are freed from any and all responsibility toward the child. 


Before discussing the process of emancipation, it is important to note that this process can be difficult and lengthy. I am neither encouraging nor discouraging for you or anyone you know to emancipate. If your heart – and brain – desire to do so, then be my guest.  

As a legal adult (18) and having moved out from my parents’ house I understand the longing to become an independent individual especially when you hit 16 and are starting to drive. When I was 16, I also thought about emancipation and it seemed like a dream. I read about the process and in an instant knew it was easier to dream it than achieve it. So, like most 16 years old wanting to move out of their parents’ house, I waited it out. I, however, was lucky to have a space and O.K circumstances to be able to wait. Some do not have the same luck. If you are a person who is not of legal age to move out but want to do so, need to, or simply want to be aware of your options.  


Beginning with the most straightforward options. You either get married or join the military. Although it seems simple to do either of these things, you still need parents’ permission to be able to get married, and in some instance a judge’s permission. You also need permission to join the military, as the age requirement to join is 17.  

 The more complicated option is to petition the court to become emancipated from your parents. According to the county of Maricopa’s official website, the emancipation requirements include:  

  • Being at least 16 years old 
  • Proof they have been living on their own for at least 3 months  
  • Provide a statement explaining why their home is an unsafe environment or 
  • Provide a notarized document from their parents consenting to the emancipation  

 If you can provide all the requirements and complete filing your petition you will have a hearing within 90 days (about 3 months). You may have a lawyer to represent you, and your parents will also receive a notice for the hearing. During your hearing, the court will consider the following: 

  • your wishes and your parents’ opinion regarding emancipation 
  • your financial situation and whether you are independent from your parents – proof of employment or other means of support, including housing and health care 
  • your education and success at school 
  • whether you have a criminal record 
  • whether you understand the risks of emancipation 

 If your parent objects to your emancipation the judge may choose to send you to mediation where you and your parents can reach an agreement. If an agreement is not met the judge will decide whether it is in your best interest to be emancipated or not 


If you are emancipated, you will then be considered an adult and must take on the responsibility of being one. You also could do the following:  

  • apply for loans and create your own debt  
  • buy and sell real estate 
  • consent to medical, dental, and mental health care for yourself and your child and obtain your records 
  • sue and be sued  

….and much more 


For more information go to https://lawforkids.org/emancipation 


Sources referenced in this article:  

Maricopa County Official Website https://www.maricopa.gov/871/Emancipation-of-Minors 

Yuma County Official Website https://www.yumacountyaz.gov/government/courts/juvenile-justice-center/faq-s/emancipation-in-arizona