Emancipation and emancipation laws are terms that get tossed around frequently and are clouded in much confusion. Here is an overview of youth emancipation.


I’ve heard that if I didn’t want to stay at home anymore I could become emancipated. What are the emancipation laws in my area?

Someone told me that if I was at least 16 I could become emancipated.

Is it true that since I am pregnant I am automatically emancipated?

In my state I can legally move out at 17 so isn’t I’m emancipated?


Emancipation and emancipation laws are terms that get tossed around frequently and are clouded by much confusion. Generally speaking, emancipation means that a minor has the same responsibilities as an adult. The determinants of emancipation vary by State although the following are the general three:

1) marriage; 2) military service; 3) or granted at the discretion by the judge.

The judge generally emancipates youth who are:

  • at least 16,
  • financially independent,
  • currently in school or working towards a GED,
  • and living separately from parents.

According to emancipation laws, pregnancy doesn’t equal automatic emancipation and being able to legally move out is not the same thing as being emancipated. The idea of emancipation is a very old concept and is rarely granted by a judge at his or her discretion. If you are considering emancipation or need information on emancipation laws in your area, try contacting a local legal aid organization to get the most updated information. Having trouble locating one? Give us a call.

– Dyanne

Update: Get information on emancipation laws in our blog series on runaway laws.

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