Everyone connects the term emancipation with freedom, but there are many different ways of being free. One type of freedom occurs at the age of 18 when a minor becomes an adult. This can happen earlier, however, with a Petition for Emancipation. That is a paper filed by a minor who is 16 or 17 years old requesting a court order to be emancipated from his parents or guardians. Although an order of emancipation in Texas does not give a teen the right to drink or gamble or vote, it does mean that the minor is free of parental control.
Emancipation in Texas
The age of majority in Texas is 18, and the time passes slowly as kids just a year or two younger wait for the magic moment. In certain cases, those who are 16 or 17 can petition the Texas court for emancipation. Emancipation means that the minor is free to make his own choices without parental permission. But it also means that the minor's parents are no longer legally required to pay for his food, provide him a home or finance other necessities.
Read More: How to File a Statement of Emancipation in Texas
In order to become emancipated from his parents, a minor in Texas can marry, join the Armed Forces or file a legal action. If you want to take the third option, you must file emancipation papers with the Texas court in the county that is your legal residence. The document is called a Petition for Emancipation, and you can buy a form to use online. However, the courts don't require that you use any particular emancipation forms in Texas. You can simply write the request yourself.
What to Include in the Petition for Emancipation
A minor can petition for emancipation if she is a Texas resident, self-supporting and managing her own financial affairs and 17 years old, or at least 16 years old and living separate and apart from her parents or guardian. The minor seeking emancipation must put certain matters in the petition, including:
- Name, age and residency.
- Names and residency of her parents or guardians.
- Reasons emancipation is in her best interests.
- Purpose of the request.
Note that even if a court grants a Petition for Emancipation, a minor remains a minor for certain purposes. If a statute says you must be a certain age to do a particular thing, like vote or buy alcohol or purchase a gun, emancipation does not mean that the minor can do those things before the legal age required in the statute.
If you are a minor in Texas thinking about petitioning for emancipation, you can find a petition form online that would work. But you can also write one up yourself if you want to.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.