Minors under the age of 18 are legally and financially under their parents’ control. While you are a minor, your parents have a legal and financial responsibility to care for you – however, not all family situations are healthy and you may not want to remain under your parents’ care and control. Some minors can separate themselves from their parents before they turn 18, allowing them to adopt most adult responsibilities. This process is known as emancipation. An Indianapolis family law attorney can help guide you through the process.
What Is Emancipation?
In the state of Indiana, your parents have a responsibility to care for you until you reach the age of 18. This means that the state expects your parents to provide you with food, clothing, and shelter, as well as determine where you will live, where you go to school, and what medical care you can receive.
Emancipation ends your parents’ control and responsibility for you. There are typically three ways you can emancipate yourself in Indiana: emancipation by marriage, emancipation by military enlistment, and emancipation by court permission.
When you file for court-ordered emancipation, your parents do not have the right to control these decisions any longer. While the terms of your emancipation will vary based on the judgment of the court, the court may suspend your parents’ control over the following decisions and assets.
- Your control and custody
- Your earnings
- Your consent to marriage
- Your medical, psychological, and psychiatric care
- Your education
- Any social services you receive
- Your consent to military enlistment
- Your ability to contract and own property
You will still need to attend school and follow the jurisdiction of the court after emancipation.
Who Qualifies for Emancipation in Indiana?
Not all minors can file for emancipation in Indiana. First, you will need to have an adequate reason to file for emancipation, such as an unstable home environment or your parents have taken your money. Your attorney can help assess if you have an adequate case.
You will also need to meet the following criteria and may have to present documentation to the court as evidence that you meet these criteria.
- You want to be free from your parents’ control and protection.
- You no longer need your parents’ control and protection.
- You have sufficient funds to support yourself.
- You understand the consequences of not being under your parents’ control and protection any longer.
- You have a reasonable plan for living independently.
The Indiana Emancipation Process
When you file for emancipation in Indiana, you file through the state court closest to you. Before you begin the process, contact a family attorney who can help guide you through the paperwork and court proceedings.
- First, you will obtain a copy of the emancipation forms from your local courthouse. You cannot obtain a copy of these documents online, so it is important to find a court close to you. Your attorney can also help you obtain these documents.
- You will then need to fill out the forms. It is important to be as honest as you can and to give complete answers. Any errors could delay your emancipation filing – your attorney can ensure that you complete the paperwork correctly.
- Next, you and your attorney will gather information to prove to the court that you are eligible for emancipation. You will need to show that you have a place to live aside from your parents’ home and that you have enough money to support yourself without parental or government assistance.
- Finally, you will attend a court hearing where you and your parents will speak to a judge about your emancipation case. If the judge determines that you are eligible for emancipation and that emancipation is in your best interest, he or she will issue a Declaration of Emancipation.
If you or someone you know is considering filing for emancipation in Indiana, contact a family attorney as soon as possible. The process can be complex and errors could slow down the process. Your family law attorney at Trapp Law, LLC will be able to provide guidance on filling out the paperwork, how to prepare for your hearing, and other strategies to successfully file for emancipation.