EMANCIPATION OF MINORS
Emancipation means to free a child from parental power. There are different ways that minor can be emancipated. It can occur by operation of law or by Court order. To learn more about the requirements for this type of filing, please visit Michigan Legal Help’s page on Emanicipation. For the forms required to file an Emancipation, you can visit the State Court Adminsitrative Office website.
EMANCIPATION BY OPERATION OF LAW
In Michigan, there are ways a minor can be emancipated without Court order. These are often referred to as “emancipation by operation of law.” A minor is automatically emancipated when:
- Validly married;
- Reaches age 18;
- On active duty with armed forces of the United States;
- In need of preventive health care or medical care when the minor is incarcerated in a state or youth correctional facility or special alternative incarceration unit and the parent or guardian cannot be located;
- In need of routine, nonsurgical medical care, or emergency treatment when the minor is in the custody of a law enforcement agency and the minor’s parent or guardian cannot be located; and/or
- Circuit Court enters an order.
For more information on this topic, please see MCL 722.4.
To pursue Court-Ordered emancipation, the minor must complete the Petition for Emancipation, PC100. The petition should be filed in the County in which the minor resides, along with the $175.00 filing fee and a copy of his/her birth certificate. To pursue this type of filing, the minor must be at least 16 years old and a resident of Michigan. The minor’s parents must consent, or it must be established that the parents are not providing support to the minor. The petition must include the following:
- The minor’s name, birth date, and county and state of birth;
- The name and last known address of the minor’s parents, guardian, or custodian;
- The minor’s present address and how long he/she has lived at that address;
- The minor has a demonstrated ability to manage his/her financial affairs. (Proof of employment or other means of support must be provided along with the petition.)
- An affidavit from an adult who personally knows the minor, and who believes emancipation is in the minor’s best interest is required. Per statute, the adult must be from a specific category of individuals. Please see MCL 722.4a(2) for more details.
Once all the required documentation is filed, the matter will be set for a hearing. The minor must serve a copy of the petition and a Summons, PC 79 to appear on the minor’s parents or guardian. A copy of the petition and a completed Notice of Hearing, Form PC 562 must be furnished to the person who signed the affidavit in support of the minor’s request. Prior to the hearing, the Court may have an investigator look into the matter and file a report, and/or the Court may appoint an attorney for the minor.
At the hearing, the minor has the burden of proving that emancipation should be ordered, and the Court must decide if the emancipation is in the best interest of the minor. The court may dismiss the petition if the custodial parent is providing support and does not consent to the petition. If emancipation is ordered, the Court must keep a copy of the order until the minor reaches age 25. The Court’s decision may be appealed by the minor or a parent or guardian of the minor. Appeals must be filed with the Court of Appeals. If an emancipation order is obtained fraudulently, the order is voidable, but the minor is still responsible for any obligations made during the time the order was in effect.
RESCINDING AN EMANCIPATION
The parent or guardian of a minor or the minor who has been emancipated by a Court order may petition the Circuit Court to rescind or cancel the order if circumstances change. The Petition to Rescind Order of Emancipation, PC 102 and Summons is served on the minor or parents or guardian. The Court must grant the petition if the minor is indigent with no means of support and/or the minor and the parent or guardian agree that the order should be rescinded, and the family relationship has resumed which is inconsistent with the order. If the Petition is granted an order entered, the Court keeps a copy until the minor is age 25. A rescission order does not affect any contractual obligations, rights, or property interest of the minor during the time the order was in effect. An appeal may be filed by the minor or parent or guardian in the Court of Appeals.
CONTINUING RESPONSIBILITY OF PARENT
Parents of emancipated minors are not liable for debts of the minor that arose during the time the minor was emancipated.
PARENTS OF EMANCIPATED MINORS ARE STILL LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPPORT OF THE MINOR.