Texas Laws on Emancipation of Minors

Teacher helping students with schoolwork in school classroom. Horizontally framed shot.

Teacher helping students with schoolwork in school classroom. Horizontally framed shot.

When a minor becomes emancipated, this means that in most matters the child now has the same legal rights as an adult. There are exceptions to this, and courts only grant emancipation when it is in the best interests of the child. If you are seeking emancipation, it is a good idea to hire a College Station family law attorney who understands the process thoroughly.

Emancipation Basics

As with most other states, Texas recognizes 18 as the legal age of majority. This is the age at which child support generally ends, the child can vote, get married, sign legal documents, etc. Prior to this time the child is governed by the adult, who has the legal right to make such decisions for the child. The reason for this is obvious. Children have to grow into understanding how to appropriately live within the law, and they must achieve a level of maturity to do so. Some children mature both emotionally and intellectually faster than others, however.

Factors for Granting Emancipation

When the court hears an emancipation petition, the best interests of the child will always be the governing rule. Factors affecting the judge’s ruling on the petition will include the conditions in which the child lives, the ability of the parents to properly care for the child, the mental and physical welfare of the child, the child’s maturity, and the child’s apparent ability to make reasoned decisions on her own.

Procedure for Gaining Emancipation

If a minor petitions for emancipation she is requesting to be regarded in most cases as an adult in the eyes of the law. The minor must be age 17 and show that she has the ability to manage her own affairs. Within the petition the minor must state:

  • Name, age, and residence
  • Names of the minor’s parents and their residences. If they are no longer living, the name of the guardian or conservator will be necessary.
  • Purpose for the emancipation request, and how it serves in the best interests of the minor. This is perhaps the most important part of the petition, for if the minor cannot prove that granting emancipation is within her best interests, the judge will not grant the petition.

For Assistance with an Emancipation Request

It is important that you carefully consider the implications of an emancipation request before asking to have one granted. For instance, if you commit a crime, you will be tried as an adult. However, if you are sure that you want to be emancipated, work with a College Station family law attorney. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.

About Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is an attorney and the owner and founder of Peterson Law Group, a Texas law firm with offices in Bryan/College Station and Kingwood. He mainly practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Business Planning. Chris is also a Certified Estate Planner. Besides his law practice, Chris is a serial entrepreneur and community volunteer. He is known for his cutting edge law practice that utilizes technology to deliver efficient, excellent work.