What is emancipation?

When you are a minor (under age 18), your parents or guardians have the right to make many decisions for you that adults get to make for themselves. They decide where you live, where you go to school, and (in most cases) what medical care you receive. The differences between your rights and the rights that an adult has are called your “disabilities of minority.”

If you meet certain requirements and can convince a judge that it is in your best interest, Texas law allows you to have your disabilities of minority removed.

If your disabilities of minority are removed, you are considered an adult for most legal purposes. Your parents or guardians no longer get to decide where you live or what you do with your life. They also no longer have to provide food, shelter, or any other kind of support for you. Removing your disabilities of minority is sometimes called “emancipation.”

Becoming emancipated does NOT give you the right to leave school, drive, vote, or buy tobacco and alcohol earlier than other people your age.

If you do not think you can meet the requirements of emancipation but want to leave a dangerous situation at home, a protective order may be an alternative. You can read more about emancipation and protective orders in this guide from the Texas Advocacy Project.

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