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The Basics of Emancipation

Sept. 1, 2019

We’ve all felt the strain of youth and some form of teen angst as we grew up, rebelling against our parents and thinking they’d never really understand us. A quick thought that passes through the mind of every teenager is, “If I were on my own, things would be different. I can’t wait until I don’t have to listen to them anymore. I just want to be my own person.” For most of us, it was just a phase we had to go through as we established our independence and became unique individuals with wants, hopes, and needs. Some people grew up in broken or abusive homes and those thoughts were a bit more real. For those select few, or for the foolishly youthful bold, they may stumble upon a legal option to remove themselves from under their parents’ thumbs earlier than 18. Some teens will look to emancipation to get out early and start living their lives their own way. A good Colorado Springs family law attorney will know when a teen is being a tad ridiculous versus when emancipation is necessary.

Firstly, to start off lightly, there are two ways in which a minor under the age of 18 can be immediately emancipated in Colorado.

Marriage. If a minor decides that they have found the love of their life at such an early age, if luck can be granted to someone so young, upon marrying their spouse, they will be an independent person and no longer under the care of their parents.

Joining the military. One of the greatest services and sacrifices an individual can make is to decide to join the military to protect the lives and rights of civilians. Upon enrollment into the armed forces, the minor is immediately emancipated and out on their own.

It should be noted that in both of these examples, the express written consent of the parents is almost always required, though there are some exceptions. To go over the details, a Colorado Springs family law attorney is needed.

If a minor wishes to be emancipated without marrying or joining the military, there are a few prerequisites that must be met before the courts will listen to the case:

Proof of income: The minor needs to be employed and must demonstrate that if they choose to live on their own that they will be able to support themselves. The minor may be required to obtain a letter from their employer to verify any and all financial projections and claims.

Age and resident status: The minor must be at a minimum of 15 years old and be a resident of the state of Colorado to apply for emancipation in the state.

You must not be living with your parents: However this is done, either by running away or by legal intervention, the minor must not be living with their parents in order to file for emancipation. It is also likely that they will need the consent of both parents to file, but in certain circumstances, this requirement can be waived.

Wanting to move out and live on your own is a feeling most teens go through at some point. For those who are serious, but have a good (enough) relationship with their family, the only two (mostly) viable options are to marry or join the military. For minors who are already out of their parents’ or guardians’ home and supporting themselves, emancipation can remove any ties to what is likely a broken and unhappy home life. If you are considering emancipation, or if your child is considering filing, contact an expert Colorado Springs family law attorney at the offices of Kinnaird Law. We’re happy to discuss the details of your case and plan out the next steps.