Emancipation in North Carolina

I am 16, how do I become emancipated?

For the court to grant your emancipation, you need to have a place to live and an income.  You can’t use your parents’ income and you can’t use welfare.

You file the petition with the court and serve your parents.  Then you have to schedule a hearing and go to court. You would be the petitioner.  Your parents have to get a copy of the petition, notice of the hearing and a civil summons filled out by the clerk of court.  You have to send the documents to your parents by certified mail, signature required or service by sheriff, even if you live with them. You will also need a copy of your birth certificate.

At the court hearing, you have to present evidence

 and the judge has to consider:

  • Your ability to function as an adult
  • Whether you are trying to get married or if you need to sign a contract without your parent’s consent
  • Whether you have a job and an income other than your parent’s income
  • Whether you have a stable place to live
  • The level of conflict in your parent’s home
  • Whether your parents are good parents and whether you have been respectful of them as adults and as your parents, or if you are just being rebellious.

If the court finds that your paperwork was filed and served correctly, and you have a plan for where you are going to live and how you are going to support yourself, then the court may grant the emancipation if the court thinks you are better off not living with your parents.

Emancipation is only granted in extreme situations.  Most of the time, the judge is going to tell you to wait it out until you are 18.


Here is the form you will need to file for emancipation:

and here is the statute describing the requirements: