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LADY LAWYER
LADY LAWYER, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6531
Experience:  Family Law Attorney
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I have a 16yr old step-daughter who thinks at the age of 17

Customer Question

I have a 16yr old step-daughter who thinks at the age of 17 she can move out and we can do nothing. I want to know if this is so and what our rights and responsibilites are regarding this. I have been told that until she reaches the age of 18, she cannot do so. And if she does, that we can call the police and have her returned home.

sharon
springfield, mo
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LADY LAWYER replied 2 years ago.

LADY LAWYER :

Hello, Thanks for choosing Justanswer.com! I look forward to helping you today.

Customer:

Hi, as I stated we would like to know what the law is regarding a minor and the age at which she can move out. She is under the impression she can move

LADY LAWYER :

By law, she doesn't reach the age of majority and become an adult until she is 18, so technically, you are responsible for her until then. But at 17, it is unlikely that the cops would do much if you called them because she runs away. 3e

LADY LAWYER :

There is no "law" against moving out when you're 17, in fact, she could apply for emancipation if she wants to, which the law allows her to do.

LADY LAWYER :

But she wouldn't be arrested if she moved out at 17. And again, it is going to be up to your local police more than anything on how agressive they will be in pursuing her and making her come back home.

LADY LAWYER :

Is she planning to live with family somewhere?

Customer:

As her parents, we know we are responsibl (financially) for her. No she wants to move in with a friend and her family.

LADY LAWYER :

If she moves out, you would not be required to pay for anything for her.

Customer:

Even if she is under 18?

Customer:

We know about the emancipation. But that can only be if we agree, she gets married with consent or the courts grants it correct?

LADY LAWYER :

Correct, even if she is under 18. Even a minor can enter into contracts for necessities--food, shelter, clothing. If you are really trying to keep her at home, it is best to have a friend on the police force that will go get her when she runs away and bring her back to you and then scare her.

LADY LAWYER :

Yes, you are correct on the emancipation. And since I didn't figure you would consent and she's not planning to marry, the only way the courts would grant it is if she could show she was paying all her own bills.

LADY LAWYER :

So unless her friend's mom plans to pay for her or unless she gets a job, you are not responsible for paying her rent at their place, or for anything else.

LADY LAWYER :

If she chooses to leave, you have no finanical responsibility and you would not be in any sort of legal trouble either.

Customer:

She is working at Mcdonalds, but that is not full time as she is still in school.

LADY LAWYER :

She can always apply but I don't think it would be granted.

LADY LAWYER :

But she can move out and live with them even if she is not emancipated. At 17, the courts and the police just don't seem to care too much.

LADY LAWYER :

If you can find someone on the force to help you--a friend of a friend, a neighbor, someone from your church, etc., then they certainly can track her down and bring her home every time she leaves. They can also say some stuff to the mother of the friend to make it uncomfortable for her to have your daughter living there.

LADY LAWYER :

No one usually likes any trouble from the cops, so this is really your best course of action if you want to fight her on this. Taking it to the court could yeild mixed results all depending on the type of judge you get. And if the grandparents testify in favor of your daughter, the judge might say she can decide to live elsewhere--even without emancipating her.

Customer:

We dont think so either. We plan on contacting the friends parents also. We plan on sitting her down and reinforcing what the rules here are and that we don't want her to leave. She is not abused, she is spoiled and thinks we are to strict.

LADY LAWYER :

I can tell from what you have told me thus far that you are obviously a loving parent who wants the best for her and that it is indeed a matter of her not wanting to follow the rules. i think talking to the other parent would be a good idea. Let her know that you do not have any hesitation involving the cops or the courts. Tell her that it is illegal to harbor a runaway (even though it would never be prosecuted).

Customer:

What about buying a car? Can she do this at the age of 17 without us? As I said before we don't want her to leave, but we do expect rules to be followed and to have her give us and younger sister respect.

LADY LAWYER :

A car is not a necessity. So no, she technically cannot buy one. If she did, you could have the sale unwound because she is a minor.

LADY LAWYER :

But inless the dealer makes a mistake in her age, they would not sell her one to begin with. Now, if she bought it from a friend or a private sale, it would be a little harder. You could still have the sale set aside but unless that person was willing to give her her money back for the car, you would have to go to court to do it.

LADY LAWYER :

It was my pleasure helping you today! If you have any further questions, I am happy to answer them! If not, please don't forget to press the accept button before exiting the chat. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!

Customer:

What about her job, she is only 16 now and we agreed to her working, can she have a job if we think she should quit?

Customer:

One more question, if she causes damages while not living here, example..vandalizes something or is driving someone elses vehicle and wrecks are we responsible?

LADY LAWYER :

A person does not have to be 18 to work, so legally, she could still keep her job. But her employer may agree to let her go if you do not approve her working there. It would be the employer's option.

LADY LAWYER :

Yes, you could be sued civilly if she is sued for some sort of damage she causes before she is 18 and is not emancipated.

Customer:

Ok, thank you for your help. We're hoping some "scare tactics" work as we do not want her to move out, But if it comes to that we wanted to know what we are or are not responsible for.

LADY LAWYER, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6531
Experience: Family Law Attorney
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