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Question

Even though I am only 17 I am graduating high school. Can I get emancipated when I graduate or do I have to wait til I'm 18?

Answer

The Arizona Legislature passed a new law that goes into effect on August 12, 2005 that allows minors to be emancipated. However, emancipation is a very difficult process that few are eligible for.

Youth can be emancipated if they meet the following criteria:

  • At least 16
  • An Arizona resident
  • Financially self-sufficient.
  • Acknowledges in writing that they have read and understand the rights and obligations of emancipation
  • The minor is not ward of the court or in the state’s custody.
Minor must demonstrate to the court the ability to:
  • Manage financial, personal and social affairs.
  • Live wholly independent of parent or guardian.
  • Obtain or maintain health care, education, training or employment.

Documentation-- the minor must provide at least one (1) of the following:

  • Documentation of the minor’s independent living for at least three consecutive months.
  • Statement explaining why the minor believes the home of the parent or legal guardian is unsafe.
  • A notarized statement of written consent from the parent or guardian in addition to an explanation by the parent or guardian.

Court Process

  • The court has up to 90 days to hear the emancipation request.
  • Minor may represent themself or be represented by an attorney.
  • The court may appoint a lawyer for the minor.
  • At least 2 months before the hearing, the court must notify the minor's parents.
  • The parents have up to 30 days to object to the emanicpation.
  • The parents may request mediation or the court may order mediation.

Basis for Court decision

  • Potential risks and consequences of emancipation.
  • The wishes of the minor.
  • Opinions and recommendations of the minor’s parents or guardian.
  • Financial resources of the minor and the minor’s ability to be financially self-sufficient.
  • The employment, education and criminal history of the minor.

Rights of Emancipated Minors -- An emancipated minor is entitled to:

    • Enter a contract.
    • Sue and be sued.
    • Buy and sell real property.
    • Establish legal residence.
    • Pay child support.
    • Incur debts.
    • Apply for social services.
    • Obtain a job-related license.
    • Apply for school.
    • Apply for loans.
    • Access medical treatment and records.
    • Consent to medical treatment.
    • A driver's licencse or non-operating license with the words: Emancipated Minor.
    Added:
    Viernes 23 de Julio de 2010
    Revised:
    Viernes 23 de Julio de 2010

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