Under MN law, the only way to become a legal adult is to reach the age of 18. However, minors can achieve some or most of the rights of adults through a process known as emancipation. As explained in Youth and the Law from the MN House of Representatives, state statutes provide no specific grounds or procedures for emancipation, but they reflect an assumption that minors may be emancipated. Still, it takes comprehensive legal knowledge to determine whether emancipation provides the best solutions to a minor’s issues.
Emancipation Can Represent a Variety of Situations
Even fully-emancipated minors must comply with minor-specific laws, such as the prohibited purchase of cigarettes or alcohol, complying with curfew restrictions and going to school, at least up to age of 16. There are three types of emancipation:
- Full emancipation generally allows minors to live similarly to adults, which might be the case if they are legally married or if their parents issue formal (or sometimes informal) consent.
- Partial emancipation may be granted on an as-needed basis. For example, minors dedicated to different religious beliefs than their parents could conceivably seek emancipation solely from participation in any religious practices of the parents.
- Conditional … or limited as to time or purpose emancipation might be based on specific situations. When conditions within a household periodically change in ways to have a negative effect on a minor’s life, the courts could potentially grant some form of emancipation that permits the minor with alternatives that avoid the situation for the required limited time period.
Of course, every case is unique, so the courts can exercise significant discretion when identifying solutions that appropriately protect minors.
Emancipation is Not Always the Best Solution
The maturity of the child is naturally one determining factor when deciding emancipation issues. Since emancipated minors rarely continue to benefit from parental financial support, the courts may choose other options when the children have no means of independent financial resources.
It is important to understand that emancipation is not always the most appropriate answer to the domestic issues of minors. In an extreme example such as any situation involving domestic abuse, children may benefit more by moving in with a relative who can provide both supervision and emotional support until such time that the abuser is removed from the home.
Whether juveniles are victims of domestic abuse, do not get along with their parents or have other reasons for wanting to live on their own, emancipation may or may not be the most suitable solution. Call an experienced Minnesota family law attorney at 763-323-6555 or use our convenient contact form.