In a previous article, we explored the situations in which an emancipation of a minor may occur. One such option was emancipation pursuant to a petition filed by the minor, who is at least 16 years old, with the juvenile court. There we explained the standard needed for a court to approve such emancipation. But how does a child first bring this action to the court?
As previously stated, the child must bring a petition. This petition should include the following:
- The petitioner’s full name and birthdate and the county and state where the petitioner was born;
- A certified copy of the petitioner’s birth certificate;
- The name and last known address of the petitioner’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian and if no parent, guardian, or legal custodian can be found, the name and address of the petitioner’s nearest living relative residing within the state;
- The petitioner’s present address and length of residency at that address;
- A declaration by the petitioner demonstrating the ability to manage his or her financial affairs together with any information necessary to support the declaration;
- A declaration by the petitioner demonstrating the ability to manage his or her personal and social affairs together with any information necessary to support the declaration; and
- The names of individuals who have personal knowledge of the petitioner’s circumstances and believe that under those circumstances emancipation is in the best interest of the petitioner. Such individuals may include the following:
- A licensed physician, physician assistant, or osteopath;
- A registered professional nurse or licensed practical nurse;
- A licensed psychologist;
- A licensed professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist;
- A school guidance counselor, school social worker, or psychologist;
- A school administrator, school principal, or school teacher;
- A member of the clergy;
- A law enforcement officer; or
- An attorney.
The court will then contact the individuals listed on the petition to obtain a sworn statement describing why that person believes the minor should be emancipated. To help aid in this process the court can appoint an attorney for the minor as well as one for the parents or guardian. Even further, anyone who is involved in the emancipation case can ask the court to assign an employee or appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate the case and make a recommendation as to whether emancipation is in the best interest of the minor.
If a parent or guardian opposes the emancipation, he or she should attend all hearings. Plus, the parent parent or guardian who object must file a formal, written answer with the Juvenile Court within 30 days after being served with the emancipation petition.
As previously stated, hearings will then be held. The minor must attend and anyone who opposing the emancipation should as well. Each side of the case can put on evidence to present a case for or against the emancipation. The judge will then decide whether or not the standard for emancipation has been met or not.
If you or someone you know is considering emancipation, please contact the attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Our team will help navigate you through this process to ensure that you are properly advocated for.