What You Need to Know About the Emancipation Process in California

Any child looking to live independently from their parents has the option to become legally emancipated. Here’s how to get emancipated in California.

Emancipation grants legal adult status to any individual under 18. Although this presents opportunities for independence, emancipation also excludes a child from any right to support from their parents. Additionally, any individual who is emancipated has to agree to certain conditions required by the court.

Related: Emancipation of Minors in California: Laws and Procedures

Pros and Cons of Emancipation

Before any child begins the emancipation process, it is recommended that they explore all of the options available to them. If a child does not want to live with their parents, they do have the option to live with another adult, such as a family member or family friend. Additionally, they have access to help from public and private agencies who can support them in relocating homes. Finally, every child has the ability to formulate an agreement with their parents to live somewhere else where all parties can consent to the terms.

Emancipation allows an individual to be independent from their parents and presents them with opportunities they didn’t have before. Here are some things an emancipated individual can do without the permission of their parents:

  • Receive Medical care
  • Apply for a work permit
  • Sign up for school or college
  • Live wherever they want

However, it is important to note that emancipated individuals will no longer receive support from their parents, as it is not legally required. Additionally, the court requires emancipated individuals to follow a few rules and conditions, such as:

  • Emancipated individuals must attend school.
  • Emancipated individuals still cannot get married without their parent’s permission.
  • Emancipated individuals will still face juvenile court if they break the law.

Although emancipation provides significant improvement in freedoms, any emancipated individual must follow these conditions or face the possibility of their emancipation being terminated by the court.

Finally, it is crucial to understand that emancipation is not a quick process. In fact, for the emancipation process to be completed, it usually takes about 4-6 months. Therefore, if an individual who is applying for emancipation is going to turn 18 in six months or less, then it may be best if they refrain from applying.

How To Get Emancipated

After meeting the court’s requirements and being granted emancipation, a child can begin the emancipation process. However, there are three different methods by which a child can become emancipated. Here are all the ways a child can be granted emancipation in California.

1. Getting married.

Although federal law requires an individual to be 18 years old, children can marry under this age with the consent of their parents and permission from the court. This is one way a child can become emancipated.

Related: How to Get Married in California: The Basics

2. Joining the armed forces.

Enlisting in the armed forces is also another way a child can obtain emancipation, but again it requires the permission of their parents. Additionally, the armed forces must accept them.

3. Obtain a declaration of emancipation from a judge.

Although it does not require getting married or joining the armed forces, a declaration of emancipation from a judge still requires the consent of your parents. However, it is not a simple process to be granted emancipation status from a judge. In order to qualify for emancipation, a child must be able to fulfill all of the necessary requirements.

An individual can learn more about how to become emancipated here.

How To Get A Declaration of Emancipation

Any child must be able to meet specific qualifications before they can be granted emancipation from a judge. Here is everything a child must demonstrate to be eligible for emancipation.

  1. The child is at least 14 years old.
  2. The child willingly wants to live apart from their parents and have their consent in living separately.
  3. The child can adequately manage their own finances.
  4. The child has a stable and legal source of income.
  5. The child’s best interest aligns with the option of emancipation.

If a child is unable to prove all of these requirements to a judge, they are ineligible to receive emancipation status from the court.

Contact Us

If you have any more questions on how to get emancipated in California, contact us. Get your free consultation with one of our experienced Emancipation Attorneys today!