Question about emancipation...


Well-Known Member
Has anyone done this...emancipate your child (not necessarily Difficult Child)?

Our youngest is 16. She is not our main Difficult Child, but has acted out a bit, but doing pretty good now. She turns 17 in June 2017. She has been working with her high school guidance counselor and wants to do a GED Plus program. Our school is on trimesters, and the first trimester ends in two weeks. The counselor has talked to daughter and said she will make an appointment with us to discuss this option.

If we OK the program, daughter would go to a learning center from 9 to 2, will work at her own speed, will take four required classes online at the center. Her counselor is pretty positive that daughter could complete the required classes in 3 or 4 months. She would get a HS diploma from our regular school...not a GED certificate. She could participate in the graduation ceremony.

If we do this, she will be a HS graduate at 16. But would turn 17 a couple months later. This is where the emancipation idea comes up. She wants to do volunteering in another state. She wants to buy a car. Etc. she can't buy a car in her name and insure it til 18. But, if legally emancipated, would she be able to do that? I need to check with some of the agencies that take volunteers. The ones involved it our church do after graduation, but for most teens, they would be 18... Some of these programs are out of the country...

We are considering checking in to the GED Plus, as she seems to have more anxiety at school. She is very bright, but gets stressed at school. The school is very large, at least for our area, and there tends to be lots of drama.

Anyway, all these questions are going thru my head. Any ideas???



100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Wow. I do not have any experience with this but I am very impressed with your daughter wanting to do all these things at such a young age. High school isn't for everyone. Some people actually hate it.

I think that it is great that she wants to graduate early and volunteer and just wanted to tell you that.

Snow White

Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom
I'm afraid I don't have any answers to this one! I'm assuming you are in the US? I'm in Canada and don't think the laws would be the same. Hopefully, someone will have that answer for you.

Great that your daughter is working towards her HS diploma. That is so important.

Our daughter also did better in a smaller school setting. The large high schools are very intimidating and stressful, which usually results in drama!


Well-Known Member
Well, we have had our issues, mainly a manipulative X boyfriend who really did a number on her emotionally. Coupled with a biomom who also couldn't have healthy relationships with her daughters. Biomom is now in jail and XBF just got out of jail. Thru therapy, she has come to realize that both of the people she put so much trust in were not capable of being who she wanted them to be. Hard lessons.

She should have been a hippy...always ready to stand up for injustices. If I would let her, she would be camping at the Standing Rock site protesting the oil pipeline and tribal water rights. Or go to Africa and work in an orphanage... Also wants to advocate for immigrants and work with groups that leave fresh water in containers for those crossing the border from Mexico. She told me not to be surprised if she gets arrested in the future...meaning that she is willing to risk that for what she believes in. Also wants to be involved fighting against global warming. Right now she is just a rebel with out a cause... But watch out in the future!!



Well-Known Member
I found one organization that will take 17 to 20 year olds.its called Service Adventure. They have locations in Anchorage, Colorado Springs, Albany, OR and a couple more places I don't remember...

There is a fee, but usually our church helps pay a portion of the cost.

I don't know what age AmeriCorp is willing to accept.



Well-Known Member

I am all for kids getting their diplomas in whatever way suits them.

I dislike megaschools and know that many kids do not thrive in that environment. It is difficult for some to be forced into a situation that does not work for them and not have any alternatives. I am glad that she has a way to get her diploma and is willing to do the work to make it happen.

If it were me, I think I would have her work for year, save up money, and then go the summer she turns eighteen.


Well-Known Member
If I remember correctly, to be emancipated, they need a reliable source of income and be able to support themselves. If it's granted, they can then be considered legal adults. It's been quite a while since I looked into it, though, so things may have changed.


Well-Known Member
Is she mature enough to live away from home? Who would pay for the car, gas, ins., and living expenses. If she is emancipated through the courts, you will legally not be able to make any decisions concerning anything she does.


Roll With It
I am leery of graduating so very early. While I do not have any great love of high schools in general, early grad has many problems. My brother graduated one month and a few days after his sixteenth birthday. The next two years were super hard for my parents. And super expensive. They had to force him into college classes so that it would curb the amount of time he had to get into trouble - he was getting into quite a bit of it, but was always difficult. He was very far from socially ready to be out of high school, even at our local high school where options for other things like concurrent enrollment at the university were easy to do.

If your daughter graduates early, YOU are financially liable for everything she does. Emancipation is VERY hard to get in most states. I have seen studies that urge against it because often the minor ends up on social services. In some areas, even that safety net isn't available. I know here our local agencies generally refuse services and send the minor home to the parents unless the parents are unfit rather than providing food stamps, welfare, whatever. WIC is the only one who doesn't pitch a hissy fit.

She has to have enough income to actually support herself reasonably - apartment, food, utilities, car, insurance, gas, and everything else or emancipation isn't likely. I would be loathe to let her wander off for a year to volunteer in some other state just because she is out of high school. Not only is that dangerous for her, but also for you. She could be talked into a lot of things and you would pay the price financially as well as emotionally.

Why can she not volunteer in your area and work full time? The opportunities might not seem as exotic, but EVERY area needs volunteers. If she is out of school and not going to college, which is okay, she needs some kind of training to prepare herself to support herself and she needs to work to support herself at least partially. I would likely tell her that if she graduates early, she spends a year at home in a vocational program or taking college classes, she works for cash, and she can volunteer at home. She also needs some financial preparation classes to show her how expensive the world really is, even if that is just doing the bills with you and seeing what goes in and out in your home, and what it all really costs. Just my thoughts.


Well-Known Member
The program we are looking at is church sponsored. Usually 5 or 6 young adults (17 to 20) live in a home with an adult mentor. They are matched to local agencies as volunteer workers. The agencies pay a stipend, and also the persons church covers a small amount. All food and household expenses are covered. We know several people who have done this program and the young adult and their parents have spoken positively about it.

She has always gravitated to kids who are a couple years older than she is. If she does the GED Plus, she will find a second job if the one she has now can't give her more hours. She works about 10 hours a week now at a higher end restaurant. She has been on that job for 6 months and has done well. She is a hostess on Friday and Saturday night, and a cashier on Sunday lunch.

I know that no matter what we do, there will be pros and cons. One of our concerns is her having a car, if it is in our name, we are responsible for anything that happens. She can't buy a car or get insurance in her name until she is 18.

If we start the the GED Plus, we will have 8 months to see how she is doing before she turns 17. She has been good with saving her small paychecks. She saves most of it, and mainly just uses her share of the "tip" money she gets as a hostess. Usually about $20 a week.

Before we go forward in the future, we will seek legal advice...

I was just curious if anyone had done emancipation...