Emancipation of Minors
This article answers frequently answered questions about legal emancipation in Texas.
A minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes has the legal capacity of an adult. When a court removes a minor’s disabilities for general purposes, the minor may:
- Consent to medical treatment;
- Make educational decisions;
- Litigate without a next friend or guardian;
- Manage their income and estate; and
- Make all other legal decisions previously made by the minor’s parent, guardian, or managing conservator.
A minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes is still subject to constitutional or statutory age requirements, including:
- Voting. A person must be at least 18 to vote;
- Buying and consuming alcohol. A person must be at least 21 to buy and consume alcoholic beverages; and
- Buying and consuming tobacco. A person must be at least 18 to buy and consume tobacco products.
Yes, the court may order that a minor’s disabilities be removed for only certain specific purposes. For example, the court may allow a minor to enter into a particular contract, or lift certain restrictions on the minor’s right to consent to medical treatment.
A minor may petition to have the disabilities of minority removed or limited for general purposes if the minor is:
- A Texas resident;
- Self-supporting and managing the minor’s own financial affairs; and
- 17 years old, or at least 16 years old and living separate and apart from the minor’s parents, managing conservator, or guardian.
The petition must state:
- The minor’s name, age, and place of residence;
- The name and place of residence of each living parent;
- The name and place of residence of the guardian of the person and of the estate, if any;
- The name and place of residence of the managing conservator, if any;
- The reasons why removal would be in the best interest of the minor; and
- The purposes for which removal is requested.
A parent of the minor must verify the petition. If a managing conservator or guardian has been appointed, that person must verify the petition (that is, sign it under oath in front of a notary).
If the person who needs to verify your petition is unavailable or if you don't know where they are, then your amicus attorney or ad litem must verify the petition.
The minor should file a certified copy of the order in the deeds records of any county in Texas. Once a certified copy of the order is filed, the minor has the capacity of an adult.