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Emancipation

Family Law Attorneys Serving Nashville and Surrounding Areas

A minor’s decision to seek emancipation requires careful consideration and detailed deliberations regarding their future. Only when it is feasible and in the best interest of an individual is emancipation appropriate for a child. In trying to make those determinations, it is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced Nashville emancipation lawyer on your side who can guide you in the right direction. The family law attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC are available to discuss your options if you are considering emancipation or if, as a parent, you have questions regarding the process. MHPS, PLLC assists clients throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties in all types of family law matters, and we can help you determine if emancipation is an appropriate option in your situation. If you have questions or concerns regarding a family law issue, contact us today to find out more about our legal services.

Emancipation Proceedings

Tennessee law does not provide specific rules with regard to the emancipation of a minor. Basically, emancipation refers to when a court allows a child under the age of majority (in Tennessee, that age is 18 years old) to make their own decisions as an adult. Once a minor is emancipated, their parents are no longer responsible for their actions. This means that they no longer have the obligation to provide any support in terms of finances or medical care and similar matters. As a result, a minor seeking emancipation must establish that they are able to provide such necessities for themselves. The preliminary steps include showing a court that the minor has a legal way to make money and handle adult finances and responsibilities. Additional conditions that a court imposes include:

  • The minor must be a Tennessee resident;
  • They must be at least 16 years old;
  • They must be living separate and apart from their parents or guardians;
  • Their parents or guardians must consent to emancipation, subject to some exceptions; and
  • They must not be a ward of the state.

Although emancipation allows a minor child to take some adult actions, others are prohibited, such as drinking or purchasing alcohol, possessing firearms, voting, and getting married without obtaining parental permission. Additionally, an emancipated minor must attend school until they reach the age of 18 or graduate. An emancipation attorney at our Nashville firm can advise you about the specific scope of conduct that is permitted.

In order to be emancipated in Tennessee, a minor must apply to the Chancery or Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the minor resides. The application must be in writing and signed by the minor, as well as a “next friend,” which is another individual, over the age of majority, who is appearing for or appointed to act on behalf of the minor. The application may be brought by the minor, as well as a parent or guardian, and it must also state the reason why the minor is seeking emancipation. If they are emancipated, a minor is considered to have legal capacity to enter into contracts, such as rental agreements, deeds, or other legal documents necessary to take on the responsibilities of an adult.

Seek Assistance from an Emancipation Lawyer in Nashville

As a parent or guardian who wants what is best for a child, or as a minor making the monumental choice to be responsible for themselves, it is important to make sure that you have the necessary knowledge at your disposal before making the decision to apply for emancipation. The Nashville emancipation attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC offer compassionate and seasoned legal advocacy to children and their parents. Our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that you achieve a familial structure that is in your best interest. We also represent people in Franklin, Cool Springs, Hillsboro Village, West Meade, and Green Hills, as well as other areas of Davidson and Williamson Counties. If you need legal help in emancipation proceedings or assistance from a child custody lawyer for another matter, you should contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096 to discuss your options.