The emancipation of minors is a legal status granted by a district family court. An emancipated minor in Kansas has many of the same legal rights and obligations as an adult over age 18. This means the parents or guardians no longer have a right or a responsibility to control a child's money, real estate or personal property. This also means that the minor child can purchase property, start a business, sign contracts and sue or be sued. In Kansas, a minor can become emancipated by following the court's procedure and being granted emancipation by a judge.
Petitioning the Court
Kansas requires that the minor seeking emancipation file a petition with the district court where he resides. An adult aged 21 or over must accompany the minor for the filing. The petition details the age of the minor and requires proof of residency in that county for the 12 months prior to filing. Next, the petitioner must detail his reasons for requesting emancipation. Once the petition is filed, the notice of it must be printed in a newspaper for three consecutive weeks before the hearing date. The hearing date will be at least 30 days after the petition is filed.
Once the petition is filed, the minor child will be given a hearing date. He and his parents or legal guardians will be served in-person with a summons to attend. At the hearing, a probate judge will hear the arguments of the petitioner and his guardians. Depending on the circumstance and allegations, witnesses may also be called to give testimony, which may support either party. After all the testimony has been heard, the judge will determine if the minor child is of sufficiently sound mind and financial stability to be granted emancipation.
The Catch in Kansas
According to Kansas State Statutes: Chapter 38: Article 1, an emancipated minor in Kansas is only granted the legal rights and responsibilities insofar as they affect his personal property, inheritances, trusts, real estate and contracts. That means he has the rights of majority concerning the purchase and disposal of his personal and real property and effects, and he can be held liable by a court of law for breaking contracts. It does not mean that the minor and his guardians are freed of their responsibilities to each other. The emancipated minor is expected to be raised by his guardians, and they are responsible for decisions regarding his schooling, housing and health care. The emancipation of a minor in Kansas is mainly a financial separation.
Kansas does have several exceptions to the age of majority. Any person aged 16 or older who is married with their guardian's permission is automatically granted emancipation, although the legal guardian can still make decisions regarding the minor's health. This statute also applies to previously married minors. An unmarried pregnant minor is granted some rights of majority automatically, including the freedom to make her own decisions about her health care during and after the pregnancy.