How to Get Emancipated in Texas

In Texas, teenagers from the age of 16 and over can become emancipated after a request to a court. Normally, it is expected that parents should look after their children until they are at least 18 years of age. Parents also have the rights to a child permission to live with another adult like a grandparent or other relatives.

How to get Emancipated

However, there are situations where a child may want to live separate from their parents. Children cannot decide to emancipate themselves without the approval of a court because they will not be able to rent an apartment, or even sign contracts.

Effects of Emancipation

A minor can sign contracts and be bound by those contracts if they get emancipated under the Texas Family Code. That means they can purchase cars, sign apartment leases and even apply and get credit cards and so on.

Another effect of emancipation is that it makes the minor legally and financially responsible for decisions that the minor makes. However, there are other age-restricted privileges that the minor will not have access to after getting emancipated. They include:

  • Ability to buy cigarettes
  • Voting
  • Ability to buy alcohol
  • Ability to buy lottery tickets

There are certain things that the minor seeking emancipation needs to state after an emancipation petition. These include:

  • Why they are making the request
  • The minor’s age, residency, and name
  • Why emancipation will serve the petitioning minor’s best interests
  • Why minors seek emancipation

Emancipation Through Marriage or Military Service

A minor can seek emancipation because of a marriage, entering the military and legal proceeding.  In Texas, a 16 year old can get married but only if the parents consent. If the parents do not consent, the minor can petition the court to get married.

After marriage the minor has the capacity and the power of an adult according to Texas Family Code Section 1.104.

Sec. 1.104.  CAPACITY OF SPOUSE.  Except as expressly provided by statute or by the constitution, a person, regardless of age, who has been married in accordance with the law of this state has the capacity and power of an adult, including the capacity to contract.

A minor can also join the military before they reach age 18 with permission from their parents.  Joining the military is also a way for a minor to get emancipation. If the child is not married or joining the military, the only path to emancipation would be through a legal proceeding.

Some Downsides of Seeking Emancipation

Emancipation may mean freedom to you but the freedom comes with a lot of responsibilities.  Your parents are no longer responsible for providing for you, which means you cannot make bad financial decisions.

Another challenge you may face is that there are companies and people that may not be willing to trust that you are emancipated, and will not sign contracts or make business deals with you because of that.  If your parents contest the emancipation petition, you may end up spending a lot of money in court fees and attorney fees.

Another financial concern is that if a parent is receiving child support through college on your behalf, there is a high probability that the support will end.

You should also know that courts are often reluctant to emancipate minors, but may only do that if you are financially stable. So, hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the emancipation process.