What should I know about the emancipation of minors?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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Emancipation of minors in Georgia


What is an emancipated minor?

An emancipated minor is no longer under the care, custody or control of a parent. For many purposes, an emancipated minor is considered an adult.

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Who can be emancipated?

Minors who are at least 16 years old and less than 18 years old may apply for emancipation in Juvenile Court. The minor must be a Georgia resident.

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What are my rights if I am emancipated?

Emancipation allows a minor to make medical, financial and housing decisions. As an emancipated minor, you can do many things without your parent's consent.

You can: 

  • Sign leases 

  • Apply for public benefits 

  • Register for school

  • Apply for a driver's license

As an emancipated minor, you do not have the right to:

  • Vote

  • Buy alcohol

  • Do other things that the law limits to older people for health and safety reasons

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What are my responsibilities?

To get emancipation, you are responsible for filing a petition with your local Juvenile court. In your petition you are responsible for proving that you have the ability to support yourself financially and that you have a place to live. 

If the court grants emancipation, you are now responsible for supporting yourself. Emancipation means that your parents are no longer obligated to provide financial support. Usually, emancipation means that a parent is no longer required to pay court-ordered child support. You parents will no longer be legally liable for your debts or decisions. 

If you are unable to support yourself, your emancipation might be reversed.

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What rights do my parents have if I file for emancipation?

All living parents (or guardians) must be notified of your request for emancipation. You must list each parent's (or guardian's) name and last known address. If your parents (or guardians) are no longer living or cannot be found, you must list the name and address of your nearest living Georgia relative.

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Can my parents or guardian object to a petition for emancipation?

Yes. If your parent or guardian objects to the emancipation, they should attend all hearings. Also, the parent or guardian who objects must file a formal, written answer with the Juvenile Court within 30 days of being served. A listed adult also has the right to file an objection to the emancipation. If the parents or guardian cannot afford an attorney, then the court may appoint an attorney to represent them.

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How do I become emancipated?

There are 4 ways to become emancipated under Georgia law:

  1. When a minor is legally married, the minor is emancipated

  2. When a minor turn 18 years of age, the minor is emancipated

  3. When a minor is on active duty in the U.S. military, the minor is emancipated

  4. A minor can file a petition in the Juvenile Court asking for a court order stating that he or she is emancipated

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Where should a petition for emancipation be filed?

The petition should be filed in the Juvenile Court in the county where the minor lives.

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How do I prove that the emancipation should be granted?

If you are a minor, you must be able to show that:

  • Your parents or guardians do not object to emancipation. If they do object, then you must show that emancipation is in your best interest.

  • You have the ability to manage your own financial affairs. This includes having proof of employment or other means of support (not public assistance).

  • You have the ability to manage your own personal and social affairs. This includes having proof of a place to live.

  • You understand your rights and responsibilities after emancipation.

You must list any adults know your situation and who believe you should be emancipated. The court will contact these adults and ask for a sworn statement stating why you should be emancipated. Some examples of adults you might list are:

  • A doctor or nurse

  • A psychologist, counselor or therapist

  • A social worker or school guidance counselor

  • A school administrator, principal or teacher

  • A clergy member

  • A law enforcement officer

  • An attorney

Anyone involved in the emancipation case can ask the court to assign an employee or appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate and make a recommendation on whether you should be emancipated. The court can also appoint an attorney for you and appoint an attorney for the parents or guardian if they are unable to pay and oppose the petition.

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Can an emancipated minor reverse the process?

Yes, an emancipated minor may ask the court to have its emancipation reversed. This is called a petition for rescission. The court will reverse the emancipation for one of the following reasons:

  • You are indigent and have no means of support

  • You and your parents or guardian agree that the emancipation be rescinded

  • You have resumed a family relationship with your parents or guardian that is not consistent with the original emancipation

Note, a rescinded emancipation does not allow you as the minor to avoid obligations (like debts) made during the time you were emancipated.

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More info


Find general information about emancipation and emancipation forms in the Southern Judicial Circuit's Emancipation Packet.

Last Review and Update: Mar 13, 2022
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