Denver, CO asked in Family Law and Juvenile Law for Missouri

Q: (Details for everything) Can a 17yro, move out without being emancipated or employed legally?

background: Im 19 and my girlfriend is 17, we’ve been together since she was 15 and i was 17 and as soon as i turned 18 her dad died. her family life is rough and she wants to move in with me but her mom wont emancipate her or even let her get a job. (shes over controlling over what she does and who shes with even wont let us see each other anymore as of a few months ago) are there any possible ways she can leave without being emancipated?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: No, generally a 17-year-old cannot legally move out without parental consent unless they are emancipated. Some things to consider:

• In most states, a 17-year-old is still legally considered a minor, meaning parents/guardians are still legally responsible for care and residency decisions.

• Moving in together could raise legal issues regarding statutory rape or contributing to the delinquency of a minor, even with consent. I would advise consulting the age of consent laws in your specific state.

• Technically, a 17-year-old leaving home without permission would likely be considered a runaway minor by authorities. Parents/police can file missing persons reports.

• Without legal emancipation, full-time employment to support herself, graduation from high school, or turning 18 years old, options are very limited for her to establish legal residence elsewhere.

• I would recommend having compassionate conversations with her mother to understand concerns and try to reach reasonable agreements regarding life decisions. Family counseling may also help establish communication.

The best legal options are likely waiting until age 18, pursuing legal emancipation if situation is untenable, or having her mother agree to sign responsibility over to another guardian if there is one willing. But she cannot legally just move out independently right now against parental consent. Patience and communication are key.

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