Parenting a teenager can be difficult. While technically they are still your children, they’re also young adults who cannot be easily ushered into activities or obligations they dislike or want to avoid. In some cases, as your teen grows up, they may become involved with friends or romantic relationships you disapprove of and want to end. All of these situations can make for very difficult parenting during the 13-18 age block. When minor children, specifically teenagers, want to legally separate from their parents, the process is known as emancipation. While it may seem like a foreign concept, it happens quite often in the United States. Emancipation laws are dictated and governed by the legal code of each state, and in Florida, the law regarding emancipating minors is very defined.
Florida Minor Emancipation Laws
According to Florida Statutes Chapter 743, (F.S. §743.015(1)), a minor child must be at least 16 years old before they can petition for emancipation from their parents. The only exception to this is if the minor is female and pregnant. If a minor female is pregnant and her parents agree to the marriage, she may become emancipated upon marriage. Otherwise, once they are of age, they can petition the family court and submit a prepared document detailing the reasons for their desired emancipation.
What is an Emancipated Minor?
Once a minor become legally emancipated, the law will treat them like any other adult. They will be permitted to legally do many of the things previous reserved for adults, like rent a home, get a job, sign a contract, and handle financial matters like banking. If your emancipated child breaks the law while still technically underage, they will also be seen as an adult in the court system – so any juvenile legal protections would be waived. Obtaining emancipation is not an open and shut matter. Whether or not your child can become an emancipated minor is determined by the laws of Florida and the judgment of family court officials. In some instances, emancipation requires parents to consent to the change of status, but that is not a hard and fast rule. There are cases and examples of the parents being unable to stop the order. It ultimately depends on the merits of the requests and the court’s final determination.
If your minor child is petitioning for emancipation, they are still considered your responsibility until the court grants their change of status. Emancipation is only applicable to minors, so even if an 18-year-old child is still your dependent, they cannot be emancipated from you since they are legally considered and adult once they reach the age of 18. There are other examples where a dependent child wouldn’t need to petition for emancipation, for example in the case of child abandonment or parental death. So, whether your minor child can become emancipated fully depends on the circumstances presented to the court, the law, and the court’s discretion.
A Florida Family Lawyer for Child Custody Matters
If you are concerned your teen is seeking emancipation or you have questions about the process, contacting a Florida family law attorney could be beneficial to your case. If you need a lawyer to review the details of your emancipation situation, the team at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. would be happy to answer any of your questions. Call us at (727) 245-9009 or reach out to us online right now.