As in most states, those who are under the age of 18 in Oklahoma do not have the full rights of citizenship that an adult has. In order to get some, or all, of the rights, a minor can petition an Oklahoma district court for emancipation. Once granted, the youth is legally considered an adult in any legal matters the court grants her.
Types of Emancipation
In Oklahoma, the emancipation of minors is under the jurisdiction of the district courts. The district courts can emancipate youths for specific instances, or they may give them all rights of majority. Each case is determined according to the minor's needs. For example, one minor who wants to be emancipated in order to start a small business may get the specific right to sign business-related contracts. Another minor who wants to get a loan could get the right to sign a single loan document, but nothing more. A third minor who wants to live on his own because of abusive parents may get all of the rights shared by anyone who is 18 or older.
Petitioning for Emancipation
A minor is not allowed to file a petition with a district court in Oklahoma himself, so she needs to have an adult file on her behalf. This can be a guardian, a parent, or anyone else willing to act on the youth's behalf, which is called a “next friend,” under Oklahoma law. A next friend could be an actual friend of the minor, a volunteer, or someone appointed by the court. The court must be satisfied that the minor is of sound mind and able to conduct himself as an adult would. Court costs must be paid by the minor.
The petition must be filed in the county where the minor lives. The petition must state the minor’s age and verify that she has been a county resident for at least one year. The court can make an exemption for the residency requirement if the minor owns real estate in Oklahoma, but does not live there herself. In this case, the minor can petition for emancipation regardless of where she lives, provided the rights she is seeking relate only to the property she owns.
Parental or Guardian Requirements
The petition must state whether or not the minor's parents are living. If the parents are alive, their names and addresses must be listed. If the minor has an appointed guardian or appointed legal custodian, then that person’s name and address must be listed.