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Is minor emancipation a good or bad idea?

50532400_S.jpgIn order to sign legally binding contracts, make financial or medical decisions and do other things adults normally do, a person must first reach the age of majority. In most states, including Missouri, that age is 18. In certain circumstances, however, a parent or legal guardian may abdicate rights of authority over a minor, thus granting that child the right to make his or her own legal decisions in life. Whether minor emancipation is possible, or even a good idea, typically depends on individual circumstances.

People under age 18 often think they'd love nothing more than freeing themselves from their parents' or guardians' authority. However, the reality of the situation is not always what it's cracked up to be. Many minors fail to realize how stressful it can be to be solely responsible for one's own health care, food and financial situations.

There are times when it seems logical to request minor emancipation though. For instance, if parents give permission for a child under age 18 to marry, it would make sense that they would also relinquish their parental rights over that child. Emancipation is also often a key factor in securing protection of a minor who is being abused, neglected or otherwise harmed by parents or guardians.

In some states, such as Pennsylvania, minors over age 16 but not yet over age 18 who marry are granted automatic minor emancipation. In other states, if a parent refuses to sign an emancipation agreement, a minor can petition the court for a similar declaration. Anyone seeking clarification of Missouri law regarding such matters may discuss the issue with a family law attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "How Do You Get Emancipated?", Accessed on July 12, 2017

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