Common questions about the emancipation of minors in Arizona

If you are considering emancipation you may have several important questions.

Sometimes you hear about teen celebrities seeking emancipation from their parents for a variety of reasons. Many young people, however, may be faced with various life circumstances that make seeking emancipation the right choice for them.

Examples of situations that sometimes lead to minors seeking emancipation include the death of parents, the incarceration of parents or estrangement from parents. Teens with parents who are homeless or dealing with drug or alcohol addiction may also decide to pursue emancipation.

What does emancipation mean?

Emancipation legally frees a teen from his or her parents or legal guardians. When a minor becomes emancipated he or she has many of the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as an adult.

What is required for emancipation?

Below are some of the requirements for minors seeking emancipation in Arizona:

  • Must be a resident of Arizona
  • Must not be in the custody of an agency of the state or a ward of the court
  • Must be 16 or 17
  • Must not be legally married

The minor must also be financially self-sufficient and able to support himself or herself (including food, housing and medical care/insurance).

What rights does a minor have once emancipated?

After emancipation a minor is granted several rights including the ability to:

  • Enter binding contracts
  • Purchase and sell real estate
  • File legal suits and be sued
  • Obtain medical records and consent to medical care
  • Obtain social services

If emancipated, a minor's parents or guardians no longer have any legal duty to financially provide for or care for him or her. They also have no claim to any of the minor's income.

What factors will a judge consider?

A court will have a hearing to make a determination on a petition for emancipation. The judge will then determine whether emancipation is in the minor's best interests. Factors that are considered include:

  • The wishes of the minor and his or her parents and/or guardians
  • The minor's financial means and employment
  • The minor's educational background, maturity and any criminal record
  • The minor's understanding of the risks of emancipation

How can an attorney help?

Whether you are a young person seeking emancipation from your parents, or the legal guardian of a minor looking for guidance about the options available, an attorney can assist. Lawyers Stephanie Jackson and Nicole Lasiter are highly experienced family law attorneys. They can help you navigate through the process and advocate on your behalf in required court hearings.

Keywords: emancipation of minors, family law