Emancipation of a Minor in New York: What You Need to Know

What is emancipation?

Emancipation is the concept of a minor-aged child leaving his or her parents’ custody (either voluntarily or forcibly) and living independently. New York has no official emancipation statute, nor does the state provide a specific order of emancipation to emancipated minors. However, courts are likely to recognize your emancipation as a minor if the following conditions are true:

  • You are at least 16 years old
  • You live separately from your parents
  • You are self-supporting and do not receive financial assistance from your parents (child support payments ordered by the court and Social Security payments to which you are entitled are exceptions)
  • You are living beyond your parents’ custody and control
  • You are not in foster care

Why does emancipation of a minor occur?

A minor may choose to pursue emancipation, or his or her parents may decide to relinquish their parental rights through emancipation. Some common reasons parents may emancipate a child include the following:

  • Inability or unwillingness of a child to comply with household rules
  • Inability of parents to trust or feel safe around a child
  • The child leaves home and refuses to return

Reasons a minor may seek emancipation include the following:

  • Parents are stealing wages earned by the minor
  • Minor does not feel safe in the custody of his or her parents
  • Educational reasons, such as parents relocating

Rights of an emancipated minor

An emancipated minor in New York does not enjoy all the rights of adults. But he or she is entitled to the following rights

  • Earn and retain his or her own wages
  • Seek parental support if he or she was forcibly emancipated
  • Maintain his or her own residence and attend school locally
  • Collect certain public benefits, if eligible

Minor emancipation is a complicated family law issue, and those considering it should consult an attorney in Long Island.

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