Emancipated allows a youth to be freed from the custody and control of their parents and to have many of the rights and responsibilities of an adult.
There are three ways a minor may become emancipated: 1. Get married with parental consent and permission from the court. 2. Join the military. 3. Go to court and have the judge declare you emancipated.
Yes, to be emancipated by a judge, a minor must give his/her parent(s) notice of the court hearing, and the parent(s) may go to court to contest the emancipation.
- You must be at least fourteen years old.
- You must be living apart from your parents with their consent.
- You must be managing your finances and have a legal source of income.
- The judge must find that emancipation is in your best interest.
- The judge also wants to see that you are in school or have a GED.
- If you are a dependent or ward of the Juvenile Court you must file your petition in the Juvenile Court.
- Live where you choose.
- Sign binding contracts.
- File legal actions.
- Keep your own earning.
- Get a work permit without parental consent.
- Enroll yourself in school.
- Consent to your own medical, dental, and psychiatric care.
- Stay out as late as you want.
- Support yourself financially.
- Get your own medical insurance.
- Pay all of your bills.
- Be financially and legally responsible for your own actions.
- You must go to school until you graduate or turn eighteen.
- You cannot work as many hours as you want.
- You cannot get married without the consent of your parents.
- You cannot have sex - statutory rape laws make illegal for anyone to have sex with a minor.
- You cannot drink alcohol until you turn twenty-one.
- You cannot vote until you turn eighteen
No, emancipation is meant to be a positive step for a minor, not a way for parents to get out of their parental responsibilities.
If you would like to discuss all of your options, including emancipation, you can call Legal Services for Children. For more legal resources click HERE.
Legal Services for Children
1254 Market Street, Third Floor San Francisco, CA 94102
- Print or type ALL information requested on the forms.
- Sign and date the petition.
- Include a statement explaining your living situation, why you want to be emancipated, and how you are supporting yourself. If you have children, tell how you are supporting them. You could also include letters from your employer and your landlord.
- If you do not know where your parents or guardians live, you must tell the court when you last saw your parents and what efforts you have made to find out where your parents live.
- If you know where your parents live, but they refuse to sign the consent, you must give notice of the hearing to your parents.
- If you know where your parents live, but you do not wish to notify one or both of them about this petition, you must state ALL your reasons and request the Court waive notification to your parents. The hearing date is obtained at the time your petition is filed.
After you have completed the forms and all necessary attachments and obtained your parents signatures (if possible), take the original plus three copies and the attachments to the Probate Clerk's Office or you may submit by mail and must include a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of your conformed copies.
What is the filing fee?
Click here for filing fees.
What if I Cannot Afford to Pay the Filing Fee?
Requesting That Fees Be Waived
If you are getting public benefits, are a low-income person, or do not have enough income to pay for your household’s basic needs and your court fees, you may ask the Court to waive all or part of your court fees. To ask for a fee waiver:
- Carefully read the Information Sheet on Waiver of Superior Court Fees and Costs (form FW-001-INFO) to determine if you qualify
- Fill out the Request to Waive Court Fees (form FW-001)
- Fill out sections 1, 2, and 3, of Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003)
- Turn in these forms to the clerk along with the other documents you are filing (example: complaint, petition, answer, etc.)
You may be ordered to go to court to answer questions about your ability to pay court fees and costs and to provide proof of eligibility.
Granting or Denial of Fee Waiver Request
You will receive an Order on Court Fees Waiver (form FW-003) telling you if your request was granted (approved) or denied. The Order will explain how to proceed. Act quickly - you only have 10 days from the date the Order is mailed to you to comply with the order or exercise your options if your request was denied.
Paying Back Filing Fees
Even if your fees are waived at first, you may have to pay them back later:
- If your finances improve you must tell the court within five days. Fill out the Notice to Court of Improved Financial Situation or Settlement (form FW-010) and file it with the court. You may be ordered to repay any amounts that were waived.
- If you receive a judgment or support order in a family law matter you may be ordered to pay all or part of your waived fees and costs if the court determines that you can afford to pay. You can ask the court for a hearing if the court makes such a decision.
- If you win your case in most circumstances the other side will be ordered to pay your waived fees and costs to the court. The court will not enter a satisfaction of judgment until the court is paid.
- If you settle your civil case for $10,000.00 or more any waived fees and costs must first be paid to the court out of the settlement. The court will have a lien on the settlement and may refuse to dismiss the case until the lien is satisfied. A request to dismiss the case must reflect that the waived fees and costs have been paid.
The court can collect fees and costs due to the court. If waived fees and costs are ordered paid to the trial court, the court can start collection proceedings.
Emancipation is only one of several alternatives available to you if you feel you cannot live with your parents. You may want to consider other options such as:
- Family counseling or mediation service between you and your parents.
- Living with another responsible adult (aunt, uncle, grandparent, or family friend).
- Establishing a formal guardianship through the court.
- Seeking assistance from public and private agencies.
- An informal agreement with your parents allowing you to live outside your home.
Declaration of Emancipation by a Judge
The Court will notify the District Attorney's Office of the existence of the petition. The District Attorney's Office will check to see if your parents are collecting support from you. If so, they will oppose the petition. If not, the judge will:
- Grant your petition or
- Deny your petition
Declaration of Emancipation granted without a hearing
If the judge finds that all notice and consent requirements have been met or waived and that emancipation is not contrary to your best interests, the judge may grant your petition prior to your hearing date without an appearance. You can check the probate notes to obtain more information regarding your case.
The judge may, at the time of hearing, request that the parties undergo mediation through either Family Court Services prior to making a decision on the petition. At that time, your case will be continued to another date and you will be ordered to go set a mediation date at the Family Court Services from counter.
What to do if the judge grants the Petition for Emancipation
If the judge grants your petition for emancipation without a hearing, you will receive your copies of the filed documents via mail. You must submit the Declaration of Emancipation for signature. If the judge grants your petition for emancipation after a hearing is held, you will receive your copies of the filed documents at that time. The clerk will file the original Declaration of Emancipation and give you copies to keep as proof of your emancipation. You will need to put these papers in a safe place; you may need to show these copies to employers, landlords, doctors, school officials, or others who would otherwise require parental consent.
If you want to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about your emancipation, complete an Emancipation Minor's Application to California Department of Motor Vehicles (MC-315) form and take it to the DMV along with a certified copy of the Declaration of Emancipation.
Emancipation is usually permanent. However, if there are statements on your petition that are not true or if you become unable to support yourself, the Court may set aside the Declaration or Emancipation.
To view a complete listing of Local Probate forms click HERE
To view a listing of Judicial Council Forms for Probate matters, click HERE