Minor Emancipation Lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska in Douglas County
Children under the age of 18 are not legally allowed to make certain decisions on their own, such as getting married or entering into a contract. This historically long-standing legal concept is designed to protect young people from life-altering decisions that they may not be mature enough to make. Until they are of age, their parents or guardians are responsible for making decisions on their behalf.
However, some circumstances allow a minor to be emancipated or declared to be an adult in the eyes of the law. This typically occurs when the child’s parents are deceased or can no longer make proper decisions on their behalf. When these scenarios occur, a court may grant a minor’s emancipation petition and allow them to take on all legal rights and responsibilities that are granted to an adult.
At Stange Law Firm, our Omaha minor emancipation attorneys have experience helping young people in Nebraska petition for emancipation. We understand that today’s youth are not immune to truly life-altering circumstances, and sometimes the best thing for them is to be declared an adult so that they can legally make their own decisions. If any child in your life is facing this type of situation, we encourage you to learn more about how our family law firm can help.
What Is Minor Emancipation in Nebraska?
In Nebraska, emancipation is defined as the legal process through which a minor child is declared to be an adult in the eyes of the law. This process can occur in two ways:
- The child’s parents agree to sign an emancipation agreement, which is then filed with the court.
- The child files a petition for emancipation with the court, and the court grants the petition after holding a hearing.
It should be noted that emancipation is a very serious legal process and should not be entered into lightly. Once a child is emancipated, they are legally allowed to do things like get married, enter into contracts, and be sued in court. As such, it is very important that any child considering emancipation speak with an experienced attorney beforehand to ensure that they fully understand the implications of this decision.
What Are the Requirements for Emancipation in Nebraska?
There are no specific age requirements for emancipation in Nebraska, but the vast majority of petitions are filed by 16- or 17-year-olds. To be emancipated, a child must prove to the court that they can support themselves financially and have a place to live. In addition, the child must show that they are mature enough to make responsible decisions about their own life.
To prove responsibility, a child will typically share:
- How they have contributed to their own support, such as through working a part-time job
- What kind of grades they have been getting in school
- Whether they have been involved in any illegal activity
- How they have handled other adult responsibilities, such as caring for younger siblings
- Whether they have been able to stay out of trouble
If the court believes that the child is indeed responsible enough to be emancipated, they will grant the petition and the child will be legally declared an adult.
What Are the Benefits of Emancipation?
Several benefits come along with emancipation, but in most scenarios, the primary benefit occurs when a child is trying to remove themselves from an unhealthy or dangerous situation. In some cases, emancipation may be the only way for a child to get out of an abusive home or to protect themselves from neglectful parents. In other cases, it may be necessary for a child to get emancipated to access certain medical treatments or make other important decisions about their own life that they cannot obtain through their parents. These are a few examples, but ultimately the decision to become emancipated is a very personal one that should be made with the help of an experienced attorney.
Alternative Options to Emancipation
There are a few alternative options to emancipation that may be available to children in Nebraska, depending on their particular situation. These include:
- Becoming a ward of the state: In some cases, a child may be declared a ward of the state, which means that the state will assume responsibility for their care. This is typically only done in cases of severe abuse or neglect, and the child will be placed in a foster home as a result.
- Reaching the age of majority: In Nebraska, the age of majority is 19. This means that, once a child turns 19, they are legally considered an adult and no longer under the control of their parents. For some children, they are close enough to this age that it may make more sense to just wait until they turn 19 rather than go through the emancipation process.
- Getting a legal guardian appointed: In some cases, it may be possible to have a legal guardian appointed by the court. This person would then be responsible for making decisions on behalf of the child, but the child would still technically be a minor and require parental consent for certain things. This can be a great option for any child who is unable to prove they are mature enough in court but would benefit from a parent who is capable of making good decisions on their behalf.
- Obtaining a court order allowing the child to make certain decisions on their own behalf: In some cases, it’s possible to obtain a court order that would allow the child to make certain decisions on their own behalf without having to go through the emancipation process. This is typically only done in cases where the child needs to make a specific decision, such as about medical treatment, and it is in their best interest to do so.
The best way to determine which option is right for your child is to speak with family law lawyers who can help you understand the juvenile laws in Nebraska and what options are available to your child. Contact the emancipation lawyers at Stange Law Firm today and learn more about how we can help you.
Douglas County (Omaha), Nebraska Office (402-509-1801): 9202 W. Dodge Rd., Suite 302, Omaha, Nebraska 68114