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what is the legal age for a teenager to leave home and be ...

Resolved Question:

what is the legal age for a teenager to leave home and be on his own?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 9 years ago.
How old are you?

What state are you asking information for?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to LawNinvest's Post: i am 58 years and the question is for a sixteen yr old,that will be turning 17 on 4-12-08 in texas.
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 9 years ago.
Thank you for the clarification.

In Texas the parents are legally responsible for the minor children until they are adults (age 18). A minor who leaves the parent's home can be reported as a runaway and the person who takes custody of a runaway can be liable for harboring a runaway.

So there is no legal age where a child can just leave the family household without potential risk of liability.


§ 129.001. AGE OF MAJORITY. The age of majority in this
state is 18 years.

Texas does allow a child from 16 and up to petition the court for emancipation. The court process is required before the child can legally be free from parental control. The law requires that his parents affirm (consent) to the petition and that the child show that he is financially capable of supporting themselves without the help of anyone else. If they are not able to prove this to the court, the court will not grant an emancipation request and the parents will continue to be legally responsible for the child until the age of majority.

Quoting Texas Emancipation Law
Sec. 31.001. REQUIREMENTS.

(a) A minor may petition to have the disabilities of minority removed for limited or general purposes if the minor is:
  • (1) a resident of this state;

    (2) 17 years of age, or at least 16 years of age and living separate and apart from the minor's parents, managing conservator, or guardian; and

    (3) self-supporting and managing the minor's own financial affairs.
(b) A minor may file suit under this chapter in the minor's own name. The minor need not be represented by next friend.


(a) The petition for removal of disabilities of minority must state:
  • (1) the name, age, and place of residence of the petitioner;

    (2) the name and place of residence of each living parent;

    (3) the name and place of residence of the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate, if any;

    (4) the name and place of residence of the managing conservator, if any;

    (5) the reasons why removal would be in the best interest of the minor; and

    (6) the purposes for which removal is requested.
(b) A parent of the petitioner must verify the petition, except that if a managing conservator or guardian of the person has been appointed, the petition must be verified by that person. If the person who is to verify the petition is unavailable or that person's whereabouts are unknown, the guardian ad litem shall verify the petition.

Sec. 31.003. VENUE.

The petitioner shall file the petition in the county in which the petitioner resides.


The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interest of the petitioner at the hearing.

Sec. 31.005. ORDER.

The court by order, or the Texas Supreme Court by rule or order, may remove the disabilities of minority of a minor, including any restriction imposed by Chapter 32, if the court or the Texas Supreme Court finds the removal to be in the best interest of the petitioner. The order or rule must state the limited or general purposes for which disabilities are removed.


Except for specific constitutional and statutory age requirements, a minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes has the capacity of an adult, including the capacity to contract. Except as provided by federal law, all educational rights accorded to the parent of a student, including the right to make education decisions under Section 151.003(a)(10), transfer to the minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes.


(a) A nonresident minor who has had the disabilities of minority removed in the state of the minor's residence may file a certified copy of the order removing disabilities in the deed records of any county in this state.

(b) When a certified copy of the order of a court of another state or nation is filed, the minor has the capacity of an adult, except as provided by Section 31.006 and by the terms of the order.

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