I am 16, i have my permit, i am putting in job applications and i have a friend that has a apartment soon and will let me move in with him and help pay rent, if not i have another friend and she will let me do the same, they are both 18. I do not have a car although i will save up money for one. School I will finish and will hopefully be a graduating junior. I can not get my license till August 2013. My father does not come home much and my aunt takes care of me. I have depression, i do not take pills or therapy for it because my dad wont let me, hes the only cause of my depression and was at one point mentally abusing me last year and he would shove/push/drag me so its not like hitting so I do not know if that is physical abuse. Is there a way i can get emancipation without a license and if so how would I get my license without my father being there. Of course he doesn't agree to this, me and my father do not get along, but he refused to get me help when i was suicidal. I am no longer like that and me and my dad don't argue as much but i still want to be on my own and i think it would be best for my mental health to get away from family for a while. i do not have health insurance either (i don't know if that matters or not) Also my dad has a very good lawyer, and me well i know almost nothing about law. help!
Hi there Rachel,
Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.
Firstly, let me advise you that emancipation is a long and sometimes complex legal process and it should only be undertaken if you genuinely believe that it is within your own 'best interests'. This phrase is one that is used in court to determine whether or not you would be better off without your parents' supervision because you are self-sufficient or whether or not the courts believe that your best interests would be served by staying under the guidance of your parents. Reasons for emancipation can vary but there is no real direct rule for who the court will decide should be emnaicpated and it is looked at on an individual case by case basis. The only other thing to be aware is that you may have to pay legal costs if free legal aid is not available in your area and this could be the determining factor as to whether or not you go with this.
In order to become emancipated you need to be able to prove to the court that you are financially self-sufficient, that you hold down a job and that you have measures in place to ensure your overall health and well-being; such as, having a permanent place to live that you can afford and having some idea of what you want to do in the future to support yourself. You will also have to prove to the courts that you have the capacity to manage your money and make decisions affecting your life with the understanding that it becomes your sole decision and your sole responsibility. If you can do all of this and still believe it is within your own best interests to go ahead then the first and formal stage would be to seek legal advice from a professional (of which I am not).
Once you have received the guidance of a family practice lawyer, they can tell you how to proceed but it usually involves petitioning the family court (that is, making them aware that you wish to file a claim for emancipation) and then you have to detail the reasons why you think that it is within your best interests. The courts may then summon you and your father to speak to you individually to find out whether or not it is indeed within your best interest and then a decision is made for one way or the other. As I mentioned previously, it is not a straight forward process and it may not be something that can be done in weeks but rather months due to the complexity of the case. Throughout this whole process you need to be aware of the wider impacts that this may have on both you and your dad but also, your whole family as everyone has the potential to get involved and take sides. Ultimately, it is for your lawyer and the courts to make the decision but if you feel that this is something that you have to do then the first step is to find a local lawyer specializing in family law that will review your case and advise you accordingly. If they think you have the case, weigh up the costs of what would happen, financially and emotionally and decide whether or not you would be able to cope and then go ahead.
Have a think about what we have discussed and I hope that it has helped.