LEGAL BRIEFING - Minor can ask court for 'emanicipation'


Dear John,

I am 15 years old. All my parents and I do is yell and argue with each other. I hate it! I hate them and want to leave and live on my own. I am a good student and get good grades. I can make my own decisions. I can probably get a job to pay for things. How do I move out and make it so my parents can't boss me around?


Ready to Go

Dear Ready,

First off, you are not ready. What you are asking about is called, "emancipation." Becoming emancipated will allow you to live and work where you choose as if you were an adult. There are other rights and responsibilities associated with emancipation as well. It happens automatically when you turn 18. However, a minor can ask the court for emancipation at age 16 if in the military, incarcerated or financially self-sufficient. The court will have a hearing to determine if you are truly able to manage your own affairs.

Even though you are too young to be emancipated, you should never have to endure abuse. Yelling and arguing may not constitute abuse. However, circumstances that cause harm to your health, welfare, or safety are not acceptable. Please call 1-866-363-4276 (1-866-END-HARM) if you believe you are being abused. Call 911 if you believe you are in danger.

Good luck,


John Hartzell is a practicing Walla Walla attorney. No attorney-client relationship is established via this column, which is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Any information given is to illustrate basic legal concepts and does not state how any court would decide any matter. Have a question? Ask John at


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