How to Divorce Your Parents

Not all relationships are good for an individual. When most people think of divorce, they think of divorcing a spouse. Some relationships in life do more harm to a person than good, and need to be terminated to avoid further damage to the individual’s self-esteem, self-worth, and personal health. It is relatively straightforward to divorce a spouse, but divorcing a parent, on the other hand, proves to be more difficult. This is because we are conditioned to bond with our parents and want their acceptance and love. Even when a parent is verbally and/or physically abusive, children usually want their parents to be proud of them. This does not always happen, however, and many children choose to divorce their parents. For adults, divorcing one’s parents means avoiding all future contact with them, but for children the rules are more involved to separate from parents.

The only way to legally divorce your parents as a minor is to become emancipated. The legal age to be considered an adult in most states is 18, so parents have custody and full control of you until you reach the age of 18, when you can live on your own and legally make your own decisions. You might live in a situation where your parents are a bad influence on you financially, emotionally, mentally, or physically. For example, your parents might take your money, verbally abuse you, and/or hit you. If you are emancipated, you can legally become an adult, live on your own, and make your own decisions without your parents’ involvement or permission. You can be emancipated by three ways in most states: marriage, joining the military, or by filing a petition.

In order to be emancipated through marriage while under 18, you will need permission from your parents. You also will need permission from the other set of parents if the person you are marrying is also less than 18 years old. There are also difficulties with the military option. The military generally prefers to accept High School graduates, so joining the military early may be tough before you turn 18. To enlist while still a minor, you will need a special waiver, which involves parental permission as well.

The last way to be emancipated is usually the best option for most people because you do not need your parents’ permission. It certainly will help your case, though, if they do not object in anyway in you seeking full emancipation. This process differs state-by-state, but in most cases it involves filling out some forms and going before a judge to argue your case. If your parents agree to give up their responsibilities to you, the process is fairly straightforward, but if they object, you will have to show reason why you wish to become independent. Typically, the argument is parental misconduct, where the parents are abusive physically or mentally, or they take the child’s money, such as with child actors where the parents are managing the financial aspect of the child’s career.

While it’s usually preferable to work things out with one another, sometimes the only solution to a problematic family life is minor emancipation. Whether this is accomplished via marriage, military enlistment, or through the court system, having this last resort is beneficial to children who simply must be free from a family that is unhealthy for them.


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