Union, NJ asked in Child Custody and Juvenile Law for New Jersey

Q: i'm 16 turning 17 and i want to move out of my house with my friend and his mother, if i have a job would it be fine?

my parents and i constantly argue and i want to move out, my friends mom has already told me i can stay with them as long as i pay rent which i would be fine with. but would my parents be able to stop me if they wanted to?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Millburn, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: You are not going to like my response.... but I dont think I have ever met a 16 or 17 year old ( including myself when I was that age) who did not argue / fight with his / her parents. The fact that you and your parents are fighting does not mean that you are wrong or that they are wrong.... simply that everyone is bumping heads and the question is how to constructively move forward. My sense is that they ( like most parents) want you to study, do chores, spend less time on the phone with friends and you feel that they are being unreasonable. As a parent, I have told my sons that I dont care if they are plumbers, lawyers or landscapers, but that it is essential to have a credible education to have options in life. The worst thing to happen to anyone is to wake up one day and feel trapped in a dead end job / career because there are no options available to you. My experience also is that most teenagers ( including me at your age) had terrible study habits, which meant that it was tough to sit down for extended periods of time to study. If I am on mark as to what is taking place, then maybe you can approach your parents and suggest a new way to address the issues outstanding to avoid the fights, starting with an agreement, whereby you will read x pages of your work and then force one or both of them to listen to you explain it. Start with 1 page and explain it and then build up to 2 pages, etc. Take baby steps and if you show effort, maybe your parents can show effort and appreciate your effort to improve. Maybe you / they can also work on a reward system based on accomplishments ( baby steps) to build on. Tackling 50 pages of reading in a sitting may not work for you but reading 5 pages and being able to explain it and show that you are trying to understand the work may help you and help your parents as well. Dont give up so quickly - show maturity and show that you can find a solution.

Teresa L. Reichek
Teresa L. Reichek
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Mount Laurel, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: If your parents agree to you moving out then they would have to assign temporary custody to your friend's mom so that she could consent if you needed emergency medical treatment, for example. If your parents are not in agreement, then yes they can stop you. You are a minor child.

Another option is to get emancipated. You have the the right to seek emancipation if you are 16 years old, live away from the family home, and are capable of supporting yourself. The court will require evidence that you are independent from your parents and have enough income to support yourself, including money for rent, utilities and food. The Court would decide if you can move out and are capable of supporting yourself. In order to file for emancipation you should talk to an experienced family law attorney. Many firms offer free consultations in this area.

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