Q: Hello, My name is Madison and I am 17 y/o. I need help with legal questions about leaving my home as a minor.
My parents and I dont get along and we get in fights all the time. it doesnt feel like my house is my home anymore and I hate coming home.The other night my parents and I were in a fight and my step dad hit me in my face. I told my coworker about it and she said that I was able to come stay with her for awhile. I make enough money to be able to support myself. would it be illegal to go live with her even though I am a minor? would she get in trouble? would the police be able to take me away from my coworkers house?
A: What you are referring to is called "emancipation." In Oregon, you must be 16-years-old to be emancipated but there are additional factors to consider. If your "home" is violent and being there places you at risk of physical violence and harm, emancipation is something to consider.
The Oregon laws that govern emancipation are found in the Oregon Revised Statutes ("ORS") at 419B.550 to 419B.558. If you live in Multnomah County, you can visit their website for more information at the following address: https://multco.us/dcj-juvenile/common-laws/emancipation-information. Because of COVID, certain actions are being taken by the Juvenile, and other, courts that will impact the process the would ordinarily apply. To emancipate yourself you are required to apply, this costs $240 and you must pay the application fee regardless of whether emancipation is considered. Normally there would be a hearing to determine whether your application to be emancipated will be granted--a preliminary hearing occurs within 10-days and a final hearing this would take place within 60--but again this is subject to COVID.
Generally speaking, it would not be illegal to live with your coworker. If nobody objects to your leaving home, especially if you are nearly 18-years-old, the emancipation process might be more trouble than it is worth. Unless you were being held against your will--I can't think of why the police would get involved.
To determine whether you will be emancipated a judge will consider what is in your best interest. Typically they will consider whether you demonstrate the maturity necessary to live on your own, whether you can support yourself, and whether your parents consent to the situation.
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