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Emancipation of Children

What Is Emancipation?

When a child is emancipated, the child’s parents have no further duty to support the child. In addition, parents have no right to control an emancipated child’s behavior or make certain decisions for the child.

When Is a Child Emancipated?

(1) Age. A child is automatically emancipated when he or she reaches the age of majority. The age of majority in most states is 18.

* Note: In some states, a child who attends high school is not emancipated until he or she graduates from high school or turns a certain age (usually 19 or 20).

(2) Marriage. In most cases, a minor child is emancipated when he or she gets married.

* Note: An unmarried minor child who becomes pregnant or has a child is not emancipated.

(3) Armed Forces. In most cases, a minor child is emancipated when he or she joins the armed forces.

(4) Self-emancipation. A minor child may be declared self-emancipated by a court if the child has left the parents’ home and become self-sufficient. A child is never automatically self-emancipated. A child must obtain a court order before he or she is self-emancipated.