Littleton, CO asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Colorado

Q: I am living in an emotionally abusive household, can I legally leave before I turn 18?

In my household I’ve been trying to do everything right and take care of myself and others. My parents are emotionally abusive, and gaslight me every time I get upset. I’m seventeen now and I have a place to go if I leave but my parents say they’ll call the police if I go through with leaving. It’s to the point where my mental health is deteriorating down to nothing and troubling thoughts have become an everyday thing. I won’t leave my room to eat, use the restroom, or take care of chores unless I know they’re somewhere they won’t yell at me. I have 8 months until I turn 18 and don’t feel like I’ll be able to make it.

1 Lawyer Answer
Cindy Perusse
Cindy Perusse
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Denver, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: I'm sorry to hear how you are feeling in your home. You are not "emancipated" or legally an adult in CO until you are 18 years of age. You can become emancipated before 18 if you enter the military, get married or if the court to grants you emancipation. Parents are legally responsible to take care of you until you are emancipated.

That being said, please talk to your school social or mental health staff person, a school nurse or a trusted teacher or friend. Don't suffer alone with your sadness. If you are at your wits end then go to your friends' house. Let your parents know your whereabouts and keep going to school. Everyone needs to know you are safe. You won't be arrested.

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