Q. 1.1 How do you define Emancipation?

Q. 1.2 Who can be considered an Emancipated Minor?

Q. 1.3 Can the status Emancipated Minor help or hurt a young person?

Q. 1.4 Can an Emancipated Minor sign a lease?

Q. 1.1 How is Emancipation defined?

A. The term emancipation applies to youth over the age of 16 and under 18 who are:

(1) living separate and apart from their parents;
(2) not receiving any financial support from them (except by court order or benefits to which they are entitled, i.e. Social Security);
(3) living beyond the parent’s custody and control; and,
(4) not in foster care.

Emancipation involves the renunciation of the legal obligations of a parent and the surrender of parental rights over the child. It may occur when a parent is unwilling or unable to meet his/her obligations to one’s child or when a child refuses to comply with the reasonable rules of a parent and leaves home.

In New York State, there is no Emancipation Statute or court proceeding in which an Order of Emancipation can be obtained. In New York, the status of a youth as an Emancipated Minor depends on the facts. Whether an Emancipated Minor has the same rights as an adult depends upon the relevant law.

Emancipation does not give a minor adult status in all areas.

  • An Emancipated Minor is not allowed to vote;
  • An Emancipated Minor is still required to obtain parental consent to get working papers and is limited in the kindsof jobs he/she can perform;
  • An Emancipated Minor cannot bring a lawsuit and must have an adult commence any litigation on his/her behalf;
  • An Emancipated Minor cannot buy, sell or control real estate;
  • Age and consent requirements to marry apply regardless of emancipation;
  • An Emancipated Minor cannot join the military;
  • An Emancipated Minor is subject to statutory rape laws and age requirements governing consent;
  • An Emancipated Minor cannot get a learner’s permit or driver’s license without parental consent;
  • An Emancipated Minor cannot rent a campsite;
  • Parental consent is required to obtain routine health care. As in any case involving a minor, an emancipated minorcan obtain health care without parental consent when it involves an emergency, a sexually transmitted disease, family planning services, alcohol and mental health treatment, or if the minor is pregnant, a parent, or married.

Q. 1.2 Who can be considered an Emancipated Minor?

A. Although there is no court proceeding in New York to have a young person declared an Emancipated Minor, New York Law recognizes the status of emancipation and the rights of emancipated minors. To determine whether a young person is emancipated, the following factors are critical:

  • The youth must be living apart from his/her parents;
  • The youth must be self supporting (may be receiving public benefits or child support if required by court order);
  • The youth is not in need/receipt of foster care;
  • The youth is living beyond the custody and control of the parent;
  • The youth is over the age of 16.

Q. 1.3 Does the status Emancipated Minor help or hurt a young person?

A. If a young person can establish his/her emancipation through the test above, then the young person would have the following rights:

  • The right to retain one’s own wages;
  • The right to sue for parental support if the parent forced the youth to leave home;
  • The right to establish his/her own legal residence and attend school where he/she resides;
  • If needy, eligibility for certain public benefits (depending on the circumstances of the young person’s emancipation);

Keep in mind, that depending upon the reason the young person left home, his/her parents may not be obligated to provide support (food, clothing, shelter) to the young person.

Q. 1.4 Can an Emancipated Minor sign a lease?

A. An Emancipated Minor has the same rights as any other minor to enter into a contractual agreement. As a general rule, if a minor signs a lease for an apartment, the minor cannot be held to the lease, but the landlord can. In other words, a minor can “disavow” the contract. This is why many landlords are reluctant to rent to minors.