Anchorage, AK asked in Child Custody and Juvenile Law for Alaska

Q: I am 17 in 7 months. I Live in a house with verbal abuse everyday. Can I legally move in w/my boyfriend in the summer?

I have been dating him for 5 years. He moved 2 weeks ago. I am going into foster care due to the verbal/mental abuse everyday in my house. I have a job and have been providing for myself for at least 6 months. I know his family and I know it's safe there. I just want to know how legal it is to move to another state without parental consent right after I turn 17 because I am already getting put into foster care due to this. And in my opinion. Foster care isn't any better.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Stefan Otterson
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Licensed in Alaska

A: There is a legal process for gaining independence if you are living apart from your parent or guardian and can show that you are capable of sustained self support. The process is called "emancipation." If you are still living with your parents or you are in foster care, it's not clear you would qualify. However, you should talk to your guardian-ad-litem (GAL) about this. If your GAL doesn't agree, you can ask the court to appoint an attorney to help you. OCS also has an independent living specialist who can assist you in pursuing a plan of being released to an independent living arrangement. Another approach would be to work with your GAL or your attorney to get the home you want to live in qualified as a foster home, and then petition to have that become your official placement.

If you aren't in foster care, you can get assistance with the emancipation process from an attorney or from the Alaska Court System's family law self help center. (Google it.)

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