Family dynamics can be complicated. As your children grow, what used to be a simple relationship between a parent and a young child can change drastically as the child becomes more independent and may have very differing views. While in most families, this is just a rite of passage and typically the families will work out the differences, in some cases, the parents and the child can simply no longer get along or reconcile. In general, a child will be “emancipated,” or independent and able to make his or her own decisions, at the age of eighteen. But in these rare situations where parents and children cannot work out their differences until the child reaches the typical age of emancipation, the child or the parents may start considering the option of emancipation.
Emancipation occurs when a child who is still a minor is legally declared an adult. Emancipation means that the child can now enter contracts, get an apartment, take care of his or her own financial affairs, and is no longer subject to the parents’ authority. Some states have statutes that allow a child to bring his or her own action to court requesting emancipation, but Minnesota does not. Despite the lack of a statutory avenue for emancipation, it is still possible for a minor to become emancipated.
The first way is through parental permission. This does not have to be through an independent court action. Instead, emancipation through this route can be demonstrated through actions. If parents allow a child to live on his or her own without attempting to force the child to return home and the child essentially functions as an adult, then the child may be considered emancipated. In addition, emancipation may be shown through what parents specifically say or put in writing about a child’s emancipation.
The other way is through a divorce. During a divorce, the parties may be able to request that the judge declare their minor child emancipated. This will be important not only for the child, but if the child is declared emancipated, there will be no need for a visitation schedule or for child support.