Understanding Emancipation Laws for Minors in Indiana

Understanding Emancipation Laws for Minors in Indiana

For some teenagers in Indiana, reaching the age of 18 and automatic adulthood cannot come soon enough. Whether it is due to an unstable home life, a desire for independence, or other circumstances, some minors seek a legal path to emancipation – freeing themselves from parental control before age 18. Indiana has specific laws governing this process and consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand the legal process for emancipation. This blog will address the emancipation process in Indiana. 

Emancipation is a legal mechanism that allows a minor child to become fully self-supporting and free from the care, custody, and control of their parents or guardians before age 18. An emancipated minor essentially assumes all the rights and responsibilities of an adult such as, the ability to live independently; control over their own income/finances; ability to enroll in school and make educational decisions; consent to medical treatment; enter into binding contracts; and join the military.

The reasons to petition the court for emancipation for Indiana minors aged 16 or 17 can be circumstantial as every matter is different. For example: the minor willingly wishes to become emancipated and can show they are capable of self-supporting and managing their own affairs, the minor’s parents have abandoned or deserted them for at least 6 months, or the minor’s parents have made no reasonable efforts to provide parental care/support for at least a year. Ultimately, the minor bears the burden of proving at least one of the grounds for petitioning, in addition to demonstrating they have sufficient means to be fully self-supporting and responsible. Simply disliking your parents’ rules is typically not adequate grounds alone.

To become legally emancipated in Indiana, the minor must file a petition with the county juvenile court. The minor’s parents/guardians must be notified and appear at the emancipation hearing if they wish to oppose it. The court closely examines the minor’s ability to be self-sufficient. If approved, the court issues an emancipation order severing the parents’ control and obligations. While granting substantial new freedoms, emancipated minors lose rights like financial support from parents, so the decision is not one to take lightly.

Emancipation allows mature, self-reliant older minors to legally extricate themselves from unstable parental situations or dysfunctional homes. However, the requirements are stringent to prevent abuse. For many minors, waiting until the age of 18 may be the better choice. Those who pursue emancipation should be fully prepared for its major legal and personal ramifications. The assistance of an experienced lawyer can ensure that the emancipation process is in accordance with the current laws governing emancipation in Indiana. The attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. have experience with emancipation matters throughout the state of Indiana. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C., and this blog is not intended as specific legal advice or solicitation of services as this is an advertisement.


Quick Contact

Need to talk now? Fill out the quick form below and we will contact you directly.

What Our Clients Say About Us

Contact Us