Emancipation of minors

Emancipation of minors is a legal mechanism by which a child before attaining the age of majority (a minor) is freed from control by their parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are freed from responsibility for the child.[1] Minors are normally considered legally incompetent to enter into contracts and to handle their own affairs. Emancipation overrides that presumption and allows emancipated children to legally make certain decisions on their own behalf.

Depending on jurisdiction, a child may be emancipated by acts such as marriage, attaining economic self-sufficiency, obtaining an educational degree or diploma, or military service. In the United States, all states have some form of emancipation of minors.[2][3]

Even without a court proceeding, some jurisdictions will find a minor to be emancipated for purposes of making a decision in the absence of the minor's parents or guardians. For example, a child in most jurisdictions can enter into a binding contract to procure their own basic needs. However, when a child's needs are not provided by a parent, the child is often deemed a ward of the state and receives a court-appointed guardian.