While in a perfect world, the relationship between a child and his parents would be positive and supportive, the world today is not perfect. In light of this, there are many situations in which the relationship between the child and his or her parents is far from being perfect. With this in mind, many young people wonder just how they can divorce their parents. If a person can legally divorce his or her spouse, then surely he must be able to divorce his parents, too. This is only partially right. There is a process in place through which you can divorce your parents, but you need to follow specific rules and qualify under specific guidelines.
The concept of youth emancipation
Know first that it is not possible to legally “divorce” your parents, but there is an equivalent process in some states. Divorce is limited just to proceedings between two spouses. You will have to go through the process of youth emancipation if you want something similar to a divorce from your parents.
State laws on emancipation
You’ll need to consult the laws in your individual state. Different states have very different ways of dealing with emancipation. In some states, a young person is not able to be free of the control of his or her parents until he is 18. In other states, the age requirements are much easier. The youngest age you will find on the books is 14, but judges scrutinize those cases closely to ensure that you have what it takes to actually make it on your own.
Filing a petition for emancipation
The first thing you will need to do is file a petition stating that you want to be free from the control of your parents. These petitions must be filed in family court in the jurisdiction where you live. If you have access to a public interest lawyer, then you may contact that person. Otherwise, you can likely call the court and ask them how to proceed. The court will not grant your request unless you first file this petition, so you must take this step.
Proving that you can be emancipated
If you are under the age of 18, then you can only be granted emancipation from your parents if you are able to show the court that you are mature enough to handle things on your own. Because courts automatically assume that people younger than the age of majority are not capable of taking care of themselves, they prefer to have parents involved in some way.
When you go in front of a judge, you’ll need to prove that you have a way to take care of yourself. It helps if you are able to find a job. Likewise, if you can show that you have the maturity needed to handle life on your own, you will have a better chance. Know that judges do not like to grant these petitions, so you will need to go above and beyond to earn their approval.