There is a legal process by which a minor can become an adult in the eyes of the law, referred to as the emancipation of a minor. A minor is someone who has not reached the “age of majority.” The age at which an individual is considered an adult in the eyes of the law, or the “age of majority,” is 18 in most states, including Indiana. The emancipation process would then apply to those under the age of 18. While Indiana sets the standard age of majority at 18, emancipation can allow for a minor to be responsible for his or her own well-being and make all of his or her own decisions regarding school, healthcare, and other matters. Until they are emancipated or turn 18, juveniles normally will be treated as such in criminal cases, including age and status offenses. Indiana does not set an age for the eligibility of emancipation.
In most states, including Indiana, a minor is legally emancipated from parental control when they reach the age of 18. Until a minor reaches that age, parents are financially and legally responsible for them. However, in some cases, a minor may wish to leave the home before attaining the age of automatic emancipation. If this is the case, they must file for emancipation through the Indiana court system and request emancipation from the judge. It is then up to the judge to decide whether or not to emancipate the minor.
- Indiana does allow for the possibility of emancipation for minors/those under the age of 18.
- The age at which a person is emancipated can also have an affect on child support and/or the legal financial obligations of parents and guardians.
- Emancipation can allow for a minor to be responsible for his or her own well-being and make all of his or her own decisions regarding school, healthcare, and other matters.
- Becoming emancipated allows minors to join the military, marry and enter into a contract without parental consent; however, you are still obligated to go to school until you are 18.
- Minors who wish to become emancipated need to prove to the court that they can financially support themselves, have a place to live and do not need the assistance of their parents/guardians or the government to survive.
- An emancipated minor can be tried and charged as an adult.
- For those under the age of 18, legal age laws dictate certain rights and responsibilities of minors. In Indiana, this includes:
Contracts by Minors If under 18, child is not able to contract except for necessities and higher education expenses (common law, §20-12-21.3-1); minors 16 or older may contract for life, accident, sickness insurance and annuities (§27-1-12-15) Minors’ Ability to Sue In own name or through next friend, guardian ad litem, or representative (Trial Proc. R. 17(c)) Minors’ Consent to Medical Treatment Minors may consent if emancipated, 14 years or older and living apart from parents, married, or in military service (16-36-1-3)
- Indiana’s New Child Support Law
- Indiana Emancipation Law
- Indiana Legal Ages Laws
- How to File for Emancipation in Indiana
- Q: I would like to give students accurate information [regarding emancipation]. Anyone know of where I can find information on this? (Counselor Talk, October 2018)
- A: I called our local prosecutor’s office about this several years ago. I was told that the best referral we could make was to an attorney who does pro bono work in family law. That person would then be able to assist the student in pursuing emancipation. It’s basically a lawsuit against their parents, although it does not necessarily have to be contentious. There are websites for legal aid in Indiana, and also most larger law firms donate a certain amount of time to pro bono cases. I do not participate in contacting or selecting an attorney, only provide resources to locate one when I think the need is serious.
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