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Emancipation is when a person under 18 is fully independent from their parents or guardian and has adult rights. There are three ways a person under 18 can become emancipated:
- Military Order
- Court order
Asking for a Court Order of Emancipation
Utah law allows a minor 16 years or older to ask the juvenile court to declare them emancipated. The minor must show the court that s/he is able to manage his/her own financial affairs and is able to live independently of his/her parents or guardian.
The minor can file the petition in the juvenile court of the judicial district in which s/he lives. The minor must provide notice of the petition to the minor's parents, any legal guardian, and other interested parties depending on the circumstances. The court will schedule a pre-trial hearing within 30 days, and may choose to appoint a guardian ad litem (an attorney) to represent the minor.
The required forms are found below
Effect of Emancipation
If the court declares the minor emancipated, the minor may:
- enter into contracts
- buy and sell property
- sue or be sued
- retain his or her own earnings
- borrow money for any purpose, including for education
- obtain healthcare without parental consent
Once a minor is emancipated, their parent or guardian is no longer responsible for their support or held liable for any torts the minor may commit.
What emancipation does not do
An emancipated minor may not vote, smoke, drink alcohol, possess tobacco or firearms until s/he reaches the legal age to do so.
An emancipated minor is not considered an adult under criminal law unless certain legal requirements are met.
- Petition for Emancipation of a Minor - PDF | Word
- Declaration of Income and Expenses - PDF | Word
- Notice of Petition for Emancipation of a Minor - PDF | Word
- Order Appointing Guardian ad Litem - PDF | Word
- Order on Petition for Emancipation of a Minor - PDF | Word