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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3139
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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My daughter's close friend since the age of 8 stays with us

Customer Question

Hi. My daughter's close friend since the age of 8 stays with us on a regular basis due to an unhappy and unstable home environment. She is now 17 years old and a senior in high school. We live in KS by the way. She recently got to the point that she doesn't want to go home and asked to stay with us full time. Mom is in prison and she lives with her dad. He has a lot of mental health issues and is verbally/emotionally abusive. He has not ever gotten physical with her but she is afraid of him and has to walk on egg shells due to his unstable mental health. She has an 18 year old brother that is also a Senior and a 13 year old brother that lives in the home as well. The 18 year old just moved out this week, and the 13 year old has already one away once recently but is back home now. This girl has a full ride offer for a D1 college to play sports. Her dad is threatening to report her as a run away which she is concerned that could impact her scholarship offer. She is possibly interested in emancipation, but not sure what all is involved in that or the costs associated. Just looking for some advice on how to direct her.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: KS
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 10 months ago.

Hello Customer,

First a couple of things you should note. By law a child becomes automatically emancipated when she turns 18. You mentioned that the child is now already 17 years old. There is an emancipation proceeding that a minor can commence in Kansas. But an emancipation proceeding takes a little bit of time for the petition to filed, for any objections to be filed, and for the court to schedule a hearing. So if the the child is say within 6 months of her 18th birthday there may not be enough time for the petition to be heard before she becomes legally emancipated.

There is a cost for filing an emancipation petition and it is $111.

In terms of the having an emancipation petition granted, the child must be able to prove certain things like she has her own source of income, that she is not living with her parents and that her parents have agreed or acquiesced in having the child live somewhere else, and that being emancipated is in her best interest. Certainly the fact her mother is in jail, and her father has mental health issues and is emotionally abusive are strong factors that would support a court's decision to grant emancipation. But courts are also reluctant to take children away from their parents.

I don't know how a report of a runaway would affect a scholarship offer.

For good information about the emancipation process, you can direct the child to Kansas Legal Services - Emancipation. And if she is more seriously considering emancipation after reading this information, I would suggest that she contact Kansas Legal Services for representation.