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Emancipation of a Minor in Maryland

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When a minor is emancipated it means that they are no longer under parental control. A minor is anyone considered under the age of 18. There are other circumstances where a minor who is under the age of 18 can still become emancipated. A minor who joins the military is deemed under government control while a married minor is considered legally attached to their spouse. Under certain circumstances a minor may choose to petition the courts for emancipation without joining the military or getting married. It is also possible for a parent to file for emancipation to release them from their legal responsibilities to their child. In Maryland there are no strict procedures for granting emancipation in the courts so the judges look back at other cases to see what the common practices have been in the past. This helps them come to a reasonable decision of whether or not to grant emancipation. If a person is considering petitioning the court to either be legally treated as an adult, or they are trying to free themselves of their dependent, it is recommended they seek legal advice for how to present their case in court.

Types of Emancipation 

A minor can either be fully or partially emancipated. A complete emancipation fully releases their guardian from legal responsibility, leaving them to be treated as an adult. Another option is for a partial emancipation. This could mean the emancipation is only for a short duration or only for a special reason, or only part of the parents’ responsibilities are legally released.

What is in the Minor’s Best Interests?

When the court determines whether or not to grant emancipation to a minor, they are considering what is best for the minor. They will take into account the minor’s age, physical health, mental well-being, ability of the parents to provide basic food and shelter, along with the mental and physical health of the parents. Courts tend to be wary of terminating the parents’ legal role in a minor’s life, so significant and detailed evidence is needed to prove the necessity of an emancipation.

Reasons For a Minor to Seek Emancipation

  • It allows them to bypass labor laws for minors so that the teenager can successfully work to provide for their future or family. For example, 16 to 18-year-olds are not allowed to spend more than 12 hours of combination school hours/work hours in one day, according to Maryland Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
  • It leaves them financially independent from their parents. This often happens to children celebrities who feel that their parents are mismanaging their earnings, but it can apply to anyone. One thing to watch for is, as Fox Business reported, minors cannot easily get credit and as a result they often have a hard to time proving the financial stability to landlords etc.
  • The parents are neglecting their child. As a result the child’s basic needs are not being met and they would be better served taking care of themselves. This will only happen if there is enough evidence it would be in the best interest of the minor.

Call Maryland Family Law Attorney Tara K. Frame Today 

If you have questions about the legal responsibilities parents have for their children or how to terminate them, contact the Maryland family law attorneys of Frame & Frame today. We can meet you at our Pasadena office or Stevensville location to learn more about your situation and how we can best be of legal help to you.

Resources:

dllr.state.md.us/labor/wages/empm.shtml

foxbusiness.com/features/2013/03/18/emancipated-minors-may-get-freedom-but-dont-count-on-credit.html

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