Emancipation is a legal procedure that frees children from the custody and control of their parents or guardians before they reach the age of maturity. (In California, this is 18 years of age.) If a person becomes emancipated, they will be able to do certain things without their parent's consent, such as:
- Consent to medical treatment
- Apply for a work permit
- Enroll in school or college
If a person is emancipated, they also give up their right to be supported by their parents.
Even if a person becomes emancipated:
- They still must attend school.
- They cannot get married without parental consent.
- They probably will remain under juvenile court jurisdiction if they commit a crime.
If the person seeking emancipation has a legal guardian, all references to parent(s) include legal guardian(s).
You must obtain a declaration of emancipation from a judge. If you want to be declared emancipated, you must convince the judge that you meet all of the following requirements:
1. You are at least 14 years old.
2. You willingly want to live separate and apart from your parents with the consent of your parents (they do not object).
3. You can manage your own finances.
4. You have a source of income that does not come from any illegal activity.
5. Emancipation would not be contrary to your best interests (i.e., it is good for you).
You will need to complete certain forms and file them with the Court. You can get blank forms to fill out from the Court Clerk's Office. The forms are also available on the Judicial Council's self help website at: www.courts.ca.gov.
The forms you must fill out are:
1. MC-300 Petition for Declaration of Emancipation of Minor, Order Prescribing Notice, Declaration of Emancipation and Order Denying Petition.
2. MC-306 Emancipation of Minor - Income and Expense Declaration
3. MC-305 Notice of Hearing
You must also pay a filing fee. Please see the fee schedule link for current fees. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you can file an application to have the fees waived, including an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs form and an Order on Application of Court Fees and Costs Form.
After you have completed the forms and all necessary attachments and obtained your parents' signatures (if possible), take the forms to the Clerk's Office for filing.
Once your petition is filed, the judge will either grant your petition, deny your petition or set a hearing on the petition. If a hearing is scheduled, the judge may require that you give notice to your parents and other people of the date and time of the hearing. This is very important, because the judge may be very strict about making sure that your parents were given proper notice before granting the petition.
Notice is provided by giving or mailing a copy of the emancipation petition to each person the judge lists for you. An adult, 18 years or older, must personally give or mail the copies for you as soon as possible after you are notified that a hearing is scheduled. The adult must also complete a Proof of Service form to be filed with the clerk.
If the judge grants your petition for emancipation, the order must be filed with the Clerk's Office . The clerk will give you copies to keep as proof of emancipation. You may need to show these copies to employers, landlords, doctors, school officials or others who would otherwise require parental consent.
If you want to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about your emancipation, complete an Emancipated Minor's Application to California Department of Motor Vehicles (MC-315) form and take it to the DMV along with a certified copy of the declaration of emancipation.