If I’m 16 and about to become a father, can I be emancipated?

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If I’m 16 and about to become a father, can I be emancipated?

My girlfriend is about to turn 17 and I want to get emancipated so that I can support her and become a good father.

Asked on March 23, 2011 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

My research suggests that in GA, the minimum age that one can be emancipated is 16 and it may occur by operation of law when a minor is validly married (a parent or guardian must appear in person and give consent if the bride or groom is 16 or 17). Additionally, emancipation can occur by court order pursuant to a petition filed by a minor with the juvenile court.

An emancipation by court order occurs when the minor files a petition in the juvenile court. The parents are then notified and a hearing is held. At that time the parents have the opportunity to contest the emancipation. The court will then order an investigation of the minor’s circumstance, or a ruling on the petition might be made at that time. As part of this process, the minor must prove that emancipation is in their best interest and provide a valid reason for the emancipation. The minor must also must prove that they are capable of supporting themselves without any assistance (this includes demonstrating their ability to pay for rent, utilities, food, medical expenses, etc). Additionally, the minor must provide the names of adults who have personal knowledge of the minor’s circumstances and believe that emancipation is in the best interest of the minor (these people would include counselors, social workers, teachers, ministers, etc). The court will then seek an affidavit from each of them.

At this point you need to directly consult with an attorney in your area. Since money is probably an issue here, go to Legal Aid or see if there is a law school nearby to where you live (they typically run free/low cost legal clinics). Also, contact your county's Bar Association (they may have list of attorneys who take such cases for free/low cost as well). Finally, you casn try your state's Department of Social Services for a legal referral.


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