Emancipation and California Law


The Family Code underlines the provisions by which a Californian under the age of 18 can be emancipated.

If a child has entered into a valid marriage, she is emancipated. She remains emancipated even if the marriage is terminated.

If the child is on active duty with the Armed Services, he is emancipated.

Finally, the court can declare the minor to be emancipated. The rest of this article will discuss how to Petition the court for emancipation.

A minor who is at least 14 years of age may petition the court for emancipation. The minor does not have to hire an attorney. The minor will live separately and apart from his or her parents or guardian.

The minor must demonstrate that she can manage her own financial affairs. Judicial Counsel Form FL-150 must be completed and the Judge must be satisfied that the minor is capable of being self supporting. Also, none of the income used to satisfy this requirement can be derived from criminal activity.

The child’s parents or guardians must be notified of the court hearing through the formal service process. The parent or guardian is given the opportunity to consent to the emancipation. However, this does not make the process automatic. The Judge must still approve the proceeding. Further, if the emancipation is ever voided (on the grounds of fraud or withholding of evidence), the parents are noticed that they could again become financially responsible for the child.

The clerk of the court must also notify the Department of Child Support Services and the Probation Department (if the child is in the Juvenile Justice system).

If the Petition is denied, the minor may appeal by Writ of Mandate. If the Petition is sustained, the parents may appeal by Writ of Mandate.

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