In Texas, a minor can petition the court for emancipation, which, if granted, means they will have the legal capacity of an adult and can enter into contracts or make medical or educational decisions for themselves. Emancipation is achieved in Texas by the court removing restrictions known as “disabilities of minority” that limit what kind of decisions those under the age of 18 can make.
Here are five things to know about emancipation in Texas:
A Petition Must be Filed.
If a minor wants to live independently or make legal decisions on their own behalf, they must first file a petition with the court for the removal of the disabilities of minority. Once the petition is filed, the judge will set a hearing date to determine whether the petition should be approved.
The Minor Must be at Least 16.
In Texas, a minor must be 17-years-old and show that they are self-supporting and that emancipation would be in their best interest. If the minor is already living separate from their parents or guardians, they can petition for emancipation at 16-years-old.
Emancipation Can Be Specific or General.
The court may determine that disabilities of minority be lifted for only a particular situation, such as a specific medical treatment that the minor is seeking. In some cases, emancipation can be reversed or canceled.
An Attorney Must be Present.
An attorney will need to represent a minor client in court during proceedings for emancipation. This attorney represents the interest of the minor and can also help walk the minor through the process. A parent or guardian of the minor will also need to verify the petition for emancipation.
Emancipation Does Not Affect the Drinking or Smoking Age.
Minors who have been emancipated in Texas are not legally allowed to purchase or consume alcohol or tobacco products until the ages of 21 and 18, respectively. The voting age is still 18 for emancipated individuals.
This blog does not constitute legal advice. For questions about emancipation or the removal of disabilities of minority in Texas for general or specific purposes, contact the experts at Sandoval Family Law today.