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Understanding Child Emancipation In Florida


Dylan is a 17-year-old teenager with good grades and a promising future. Unfortunately, he comes from a broken home and has been taking care of himself for as long as he can remember. His father is deceased and his mother is a recovering addict. Dylan must stay with friends or people willing to put him up because his home is unsafe to be in, and what little money Dylan earns from his part time job his mom often finds a way of stealing. Dylan believes he can survive independently but is not legally allowed to open a bank account without his mom as a custodian. How does emancipation work in Florida and is Dylan eligible?

What is Emancipation?

In Florida, a child must be at least 16, before they can petition for emancipation with the proper court of jurisdiction. Florida Statute 743.015 indicates that the only exception to this rule is if the minor child is female and pregnant. Even then, the pregnant minor child must plan on legally marrying the father of the child and the parents must consent in order for the marriage to be legal and for the minor child to be emancipated. Once a minor child is emancipated they are viewed as an adult by the law and for the purposes of obtaining access to services and goods otherwise barred from minor children. This includes applying for a job, applying for a bank account or credit card, renting a home or apartment, signing a legal contract or witnessing a legal contract. These are all items that a minor child would be unable to do without the supervision or permission of their parents. An emancipated child is permitted to move from their parents’ home and begin their life as an adult. Once a child is emancipated, should they be arrested they would be charged as an adult and would no longer be eligible for juvenile detention intervention.

Applying for Emancipation

There is no hard and fast rule as to whether a petition for emancipation will be granted or not. These decisions are made before a family court magistrate or judge and it is the judge’s discretion to request permission from the parents or make the decision to emancipate the minor unilaterally. In specific cases where a child is orphaned or abandoned, they do not need to formally petition the court to be emancipated. Once the child turns 18, a petition for emancipation is also no longer necessary because they are viewed as an adult. In the case of our hypothetical, Dylan is eligible for emancipation. While he has not formally been abandoned by his mother, he lives in an abusive environment and is concerned about her undue influence over his finances and ability to apply for admission to higher education. Because he will not be 18 for another year, it is likely the court would grant his petition.

Contact West Palm Beach Family Attorney William Wallshein

The decision to choose emancipation is not easy for anyone. For the minor child to even consider filing a petition, means that they have reached a point in their lives where they can no longer see eye to eye with their parents. Maybe this is because of abuse or a simple misunderstanding. Whatever the reason, if your child is considering emancipation, it is important they consider the implications for doing so legally and financially. Consulting with a seasoned family law attorney prior to filing a petition is highly advised. William Wallshein is a West Palm Beach family lawyer with more than 34 years of experience. He can assist your family in making the right decision. Call today to schedule a consultation.



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