Emancipation of Minors in FL
In the state of Florida, a child is not an adult until he or she reaches the age of 18. Despite this law, there are circumstances in which a minor can be treated or viewed as an adult even if they have yet to reach the age of 18. A minor can also legally become emancipated under the law in Florida if they wish to do so. Today, we will explain how minors can become emancipated in Florida so you have a clear understanding of the law.
Situations Where Emancipation is Permitted
Emancipation is permitted under Florida law in specific circumstances. One such circumstance is when a minor who is 16 or older decides to file a petition with the court to become legally emancipated for all purposes of life. The petition is typically filed with the help of an attorney, a parent, or a legal guardian. Emancipation will only be granted if the court discovers that the child is financially independent of his or her parents. When emancipation is granted, the parents are no longer financially responsible for the child.
Another option for minors under the statutory law of Florida is to emancipate for certain purposes. For example, a minor who is 17 can legally consent on their own to donate blood. An unwed mother who is under the age of 18 can consent for medical care for herself and for her child. A minor who is 16 years-old is permitted to sign documents asking for a loan for higher education. A minor of any age in Florida who is married is considered an adult under the law.
What is Included in the Petition?
If you are a minor in Florida looking to emancipate from your parents, you will need to file a petition with the court. The petition must include a host of information related to how you will care for yourself if emancipation is granted. Your petition must include the following, according to Florida statute 743.015:
“(a) The name, address, residence, and date of birth of the minor.
(b) The name, address, and current location of each of the minor’s parents, if known.
(c) The name, date of birth, custody, and location of any children born to the minor.
(d) A statement of the minor’s character, habits, education, income, and mental capacity for business, and an explanation of how the needs of the minor with respect to food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other necessities will be met.”
The minor must also be able to show the court that he or she is not receiving any public benefits as support. In addition, the minor must explain to the court any and all reasons why he or she is seeking emancipation from his/her parents.
What if a Parent Won’t Sign the Petition?
When filing a petition for emancipation in Florida, both parents must sign it in order for it to be valid. If one or both parents decide not to sign the petition, the request for emancipation cannot move forward unless the minor files a motion for default with the court clerk. A parent has 20 days to respond to the summons issued when a petition for emancipation is filed with the court. Should the parent not respond within 20 days, petition is granted by default.
What to Do When Emancipation is Granted
Once emancipation is granted, you should have all of the paperwork certified and notarized. Make copies of these papers and keep them with you at all times, because you never know when you will need to prove you are an emancipated minor. Be prepared to pay fees in various amounts to the court clerk to obtain certified copies of the paperwork and filing specific forms with the court.
Looking to Become Emancipated? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
Are you looking to become emancipated under the Florida law? If so, you need to speak to an experienced family law attorney about your situation. Call the office of Spencer Law at 850-912-8080 to schedule a consultation today. We have offices in Pensacola, Sandestin and Fort Walton Beach to best serve our clients throughout Florida. Working with an attorney will make the emancipation process smoother and easier to navigate.