Emancipation Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Emancipation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Emancipation?
n. freeing a minor child from the control of parents and allowing the minor to live on his/her own or under the control of others. It usually applies to adolescents who leave the parents’ household by agreement or demand. Emancipation may also end the responsibility of a parent for the acts of a child, including debts, negligence or criminal acts. Sometimes it is one of the events which cuts off the obligation of a divorced parent to pay child support.
History and Meaning of Emancipation
Emancipation is a legal term that refers to the process of freeing a minor child from the control of their parents. This means that the minor is allowed to live on their own or with someone else who is not their parent. Emancipation usually applies to adolescents who leave their parents' household by agreement or demand. Emancipation may also end the responsibility of a parent for the acts of a child, including debts, negligence, or criminal acts. Sometimes it is one of the events that cuts off the obligation of a divorced parent to pay child support.
The concept of emancipation dates back to Roman law, where it was used to describe the freeing of a slave. In the United States, emancipation for minors began in the late 1800s, when laws were passed to allow minors to be emancipated by court order. Today, emancipation laws vary from state to state, but most require the minor to prove that they are financially independent and capable of living on their own.
Examples of Emancipation
- A 17-year-old decides to leave their parents' home and move in with their aunt. The minor applies for emancipation and is granted it by the court, allowing them to live with their aunt legally.
- A 16-year-old who has been financially independent for some time decides to apply for emancipation to gain legal control over their finances and living arrangements.
- A parent applies for and is granted the emancipation of their child who is incarcerated, no longer having to be responsible for the child legally or financially.
Legal Terms Similar to Emancipation
- Custody: The legal right to make decisions about a child's care and upbringing.
- Guardianship: A legal relationship in which someone who is not the child's parent is granted legal authority over the child's affairs.
- Adoption: The legal process of taking responsibility for a child and making them part of one's family permanently.