How to File a Statement of Emancipation in Texas

By Lea Cook

Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child in the State of Texas for family law purposes. There are three ways a minority status can be removed: turning 18, getting marriage and being emancipated. Emancipation, also called removal of the disabilities of minority, is a legal process done by a minor through a family or juvenile court. A "Petition for the Removal of the Disabilities of Minority" must include the minor's current living and financial situation, and why emancipation is in the best interest of the child.

Consult a qualified attorney, if you wish to use one, and consider the ramifications of emancipation. When the disabilities of minority are removed, you are responsible for all support otherwise provided by a parent or guardian, including financial, medical and educational.

Meet the qualifications necessary for emancipation. You must be a Texas resident, 17 years old, or 16 and living apart from your parents or guardian and be financially self-supportive.

Decide what relief you are requesting. A minor can request removal of the disabilities of minority for general purposes or a limited purpose. General removal allows a child to enter into contracts, consent to medical treatment, make education decisions, litigate and manage income and estate.

File a statement for "Petition for Removal of the Disabilities of Minority." The petition must be filed in a juvenile court in the county you reside. It must contain your name, age, residence and the name and residence of any living parent, guardian or managing conservator. You must include why emancipation is in your best interest and specify general removal or the limited purpose. A parent, guardian or attorney ad litem must verify the information in the petition. You will have to pay filing and service fees.

Meet with the appointed attorney ad litem or amicus attorney. The court will appoint an attorney to represent the best interests of the child. This attorney does not work for you and does not have to follow your wishes if he or she believes those wishes are against your best interest. An attorney ad litem has the authority to verify a petition if no parent or guardian is available.

Attend a hearing on your petition. Be prepared to testify and present evidence as to why granting the petition is in your best interest, such as an abusive guardian. Show that you are self-supporting and managing your own finances. The judge has total discretion to grant the petition. Cases are considered individually and there is no specific set of guidelines a judge must follow when considering a child's best interest.

Obtain a court order if your petition is granted. Ensure the order is certified by the district or county clerk's office and get several copies. If you move, file a certified copy in the deed of records in the county you reside.

About the Author

Lea Cook began writing professionally in 1994. After completing her bachelor's degree in journalism/theater arts in 1998 from Texas Tech University, she attended law school at Texas Tech University School of Law. Cook began practicing law in 2002 as a prosecutor and general practice attorney.