Sometimes I hear a question about how a minor can become emancipated from their parents. Generally speaking, a court in Texas may allow a minor to become emancipated in certain circumstances if the child is over the age of 16. Emancipation of a minor can have a vast effect on what a minor can and cannot do and the rights of parents.
What is the Legal Effect of Emancipation?
Under Texas law pertaining to the subject, found in the Texas Family Code, if a child is emancipated then they terminate the parent child relationship as a legal matter and parents will no longer have the duty to provide things such as housing, food, clothing or other support. A current child support obligation will also terminate if a minor is emancipated, and parents will no longer have a right to control the legal and monetary affairs of the child.
An emancipated minor will have the following rights and duties:
A minor who becomes emancipated does not obtain the right to do the following activities that are age restricted:
How Does a Minor Go About Becoming Emancipated in Texas?
There are three ways in Texas in which a minor may become emancipated, getting married, joining the military, and through a court proceeding.
Regarding marriage, under section 1.104 of the Texas Family Code states: "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." In general, Texas prohibits marriage for people under the age of 18, but minors who are at least age 16 can get married with the consent of a parent.
A minor may petition a court for permission to marry under the age of 18, but there are very specific requirements that must be followed, consult a qualified family law attorney for more information.
Regarding becoming emancipated by joining the military, in general, a person must be 18 years of age or older to join the military, but they can do it with the consent of a parent.
If the minor is neither in the military nor married, then the only other option for emancipation is to petition the court to remove the disabilities of minority and emancipate them from their parents. The requirements for being eligible to file such a petition are:
Chad Zubi Houston Family and Criminal Law Attorney.