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Child custody

emancipation of minors

Minor children (under the age of 18) are generally subject to the control and decision-making of their parents or legal guardians until they reach the age of majority (generally 18-19). This means that minor children are not able to override the decisions of their parents on life matters such as where the child lives, whether the child can leave the house on Friday night, whether the child can get married, and whether the child can work outside the home. And the law does not consider minor children able to enter into legally enforceable contracts.

But many states allow for a minor child to become emancipated and assume the responsibilities of adulthood under limited circumstances—usually beginning at age 16-17. Minor emancipation laws vary from state to state, and the process is usually initiated by filing a lawsuit “to remove the disabilities of minority.”

In Texas, the age of majority is 18, at which point individuals are considered adults with the ability to make their own legal decisions. Until reaching this age, minors are under the control and decision-making authority of their parents or legal guardians. This includes decisions about living arrangements, social activities, marriage, and employment. Minors are also generally unable to enter into legally binding contracts. However, Texas law does provide a mechanism for minors to become emancipated, which grants them many of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. Emancipation in Texas can typically be pursued by a minor starting at age 16 or 17 through a court process. The minor must file a petition in court and demonstrate the ability to support themselves financially and the maturity to manage their own affairs. Once emancipated, a minor is no longer under the legal control of their parents and can make decisions independently, including entering into contracts.

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