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Emancipation; how to go about it? - July 1st 2010, 04:39 AM

Hey guys. Well, I'm new and I'm needing some advice.

Before I go about asking what to do, I'll give you the quick (and I do mean quick) story of what's been going on in my life for the past 10 years, especially these past 8.

9 months ago, my dad had an affair. Every single night since then, it's been constant fighting that goes way over the top. My mom is clinically depressed and even the therapist they used to see said she needed to be hospitalized for the way she is. Even before his affair, their fighting was very often. My mother is also suicidal and cuts herself all over her body and tells me that she wants to die and stuff. She can't control how she handles things and she overreacts to even the littlest things. It's ridiculous. She really needs help. There are tons more to this story that date as far as 10 years ago. It's always been a really stressful atmosphere at my house.

When the news of my dad's affair came out, school had basically just begun. The level of stress in my house affected my grades tremendously. My GPA was a 3.83 at the beginning of the school year and has dropped close to 3.0 at the end of the year. Every night there was screaming and yelling and crying at the house. A few nights I had to hold on my mom back from hurting herself or my dad. It was a terribly scary situation, especially for my sisters who are 11 and 7 years old. I couldn't even study for finals because there was absolutely no way for me to concentrate when our walls in our house are very thin.

Considering my school performance has gone downhill with all the things going on at home and the fact that I can't be around it anymore, I want to get emancipated. I'm a 16 year old girl living in Minnesota. I know that emancipation is a huge deal that comes with lots of responsibilities that I'm willing to take. I'll be getting my license in August and I have a job that I'm saving money up for to buy a car as soon as I can. Once I get a car, I'm going to try and get a second job to bring in even more income. I'm doing this in hopes that I'd be able to prove to the judge that I can support myself if I were to get emancipated.

However, given the situation at my house, what would happen to my little sisters? If I shouldn't be around my house, surely they shouldn't at all either. I figured one of two things would happen. If I got emancipated and the judge approved, I'd have to take them in as well. Or, they'd be sent to foster homes.

How do I even go about getting emancipated? I have no idea where to even start. Can anyone help?
   
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Re: Emancipation; how to go about it? - July 1st 2010, 05:25 AM

You have to prove that you can financially support yourself, then proof as for why you should be emancipated. There should be legitimate websites that can give you more information.
   
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Re: Emancipation; how to go about it? - July 1st 2010, 05:13 PM

You know I really don't think you could take care of yourself & your little sisters.
Who would be watching them when you go off to work?
You know job market sucks alot so you should be lucky to just have one job.

But have you tried staying at a friends house when you need to study or another reltive to move into first. What about trying that first?
   
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Re: Emancipation; how to go about it? - July 1st 2010, 06:24 PM

From what I've gathered, Minnesota does not have a specific statute addressing emancipation (meaning there isn't really a "checklist" I can give you on how to go about becoming emancipated). I think your best bet would be to speak with a family law attorney (one who will take your case for a low fee or pro bono).

One source I found (which may not be 100% reliable, since it is not a .gov URL) stated some things that lead me to believe you won't be successful in becoming emancipated:

1. You must be living separate from your parents.
2. You must be capable of supporting yourself financially.
3. You must continue to attend school.
4. Each parent must give consent for you to become emancipated (certain exceptions).

So you would have to find a place to live, make enough each month to pay for rent/food/utilities/transportation/etc., and continue attending high school while you're working, all BEFORE applying for emancipation (depending on the state, you may have to maintain that status for days, weeks, or several months in order to demonstrate that you truly are capable of independent living). Perhaps you could pull all of that off; however, if you still need your parents' permission, you might not be able to go through with your plan (even if they are fighting constantly, I doubt they would agree to give up all parental rights over you). Again, I think that's why it would be best for you to see a family law attorney, and figure out what exactly you need to do in order to become emancipated.

As for your siblings... there is absolutely no way a judge would give you full custody over them. It's difficult enough just to become emancipated. If the courts deemed your home environment to be unsafe, they would probably try to work with your parents first. A social worker would make regular visits to ensure that your siblings' physical and emotional health is in tact. If the situation didn't improve, THEN your siblings may be placed in foster care, or the courts may give custody to another adult family member (the government doesn't want to add more children to the foster care system unless it's absolutely necessary).






Last edited by PSY; July 1st 2010 at 06:30 PM.
   
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