Minors and emancipation in Missouri

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, March 24, 2016.

A person’s age can play a significant role in many legal areas all across the country, both criminal and civil. For instance, a child charged with a crime will usually face a significantly lesser punishment for the exact same crime committed by an adult. Age can also impact civil law in many ways, and is arguably the most influential in matters of family law, where younger residents often have to have their parents permission.

Perhaps the best example of how age can affect family law is the ability to marry. In Missouri, a resident is not viewed as an adult in the eyes of the law until the age of 18; this can affect many areas of family law, including the ability to marry. Missouri residents under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to marry without their parent’s permission. However, if a minor is married, then there are certain circumstances which may allow for the minor’s emancipation, meaning that he or she no longer requires parental permission for certain things.

In Missouri, a court can allow for the emancipation of a minor in certain instances, such as:

  • Explicit Parental Consent: Parents voluntarily choose to waive their rights and allow a minor to be emancipated.
  • Implied Parental Consent: Parents have granted the minor a certain degree of autonomy already (such as if the minor is already living separately and/or financially supporting himself/herself).
  • Significant Lifestyle Change: The minor has enlisted in the military or become married, for instance.

Age is very important in family law, mainly because minors have a limited ability to make lifestyle choices without the consent of their parents. However, if you feel that you should be legally allowed emancipation, or if your child is seeking emancipation against your wishes, consider meeting with a Family law attorney. Legal aid can help families manage a divided decision.

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