It's not unusual for teenagers to long for freedom from adult interference. In most families all that's required is the passage of time and teens will remain in the custody of their legal guardians until reaching the legal age of adulthood. However, there are certain circumstances where it would be best for a teen to be solely accountable for his or her own care.
In such cases, emancipation can be a viable legal option. Emancipation is a legal process that grants certain adult rights to minors. Older teens who meet specific criteria may benefit from it.
The age in which a minor may be eligible for emancipation varies from state to state. In considering whether or not to grant a minor emancipation, there are several factors that the court will look at. These factors may include:
- If the minor demonstrates adequate decision making skills.
- If the minor is capable of financially supporting himself or herself.
- If the minor has graduated and received a diploma or is presently attending school.
- If the minor possess the level of maturity required to conduct his or her life in an adult manner.
The judge may also consider granting emancipation to a minor based on certain conditions of the minor's personal life. For example, it may be a factor if there is evidence that the minor is experiencing emotional, sexual or physical abuse at the hands of his or her parents or guardians.
Additionally, if the minor is pregnant and is requesting emancipation, the judge will assess if she is capable of caring for the baby. However, if the girl is planning to marry the father, she will automatically be granted emancipation
Legal age requirements in Texas may be confusing, and a consultation with an experienced family law attorney may help. Before you pursue adult legal status for a minor, whether for yourself or your child, thoroughly investigate all the ramifications of this major decision.