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Emancipation in Texas

Parents have the responsibility to support their children while growing up. In states like Texas, it is the duty of parents to provide the basic needs, shelter, education, and other kinds of support to their children up until the age of eighteen. Our laws also give restrictions to children and turn into parents for consent when entering certain obligations.

What is Emancipation?

Emancipation is commonly associated with minors who want to have the legal capacity of an adult. The parents of said minors give up their control over them. Minors, in accordance with law, are those below the age of eighteen years. Children can already leave their parents’ house by the time they have reached this age. Through the process of emancipation, however, minors with ages at least sixteen or seventeen years may acquire rights as that of an adult.

Nature of Emancipation in Texas

The Texas family court decides on cases of emancipation. The minor is the one who files the petition to the court for the removal of disabilities of minority. This means that all restrictions that limit the capacity of the minor to enter into agreements, contracts, or other decisions which require the discretion of an adult are being removed. Obligations which require contracts such as buying a car or house, renting an apartment, and credit transactions can already be obtained by an emancipated minor. In addition, they may have the right to decide things pertaining to medical treatment, education, litigation, management of their own income and properties without consent of a guardian. They have access to certain privileges but also become responsible of their actions and decisions. It will not be necessary for parents to provide for their emancipated children. In a sense, the parent-child legal relationship is terminated. 

Requirements of Emancipation

In order for a child to file a petition to remove disabilities of minority, he or she should be at least sixteen years old who is living separately from parents or guardian. The petitioner must be, of course, a Texas resident and should prove that he or she can support and manage his or her own finances. Petition can be filed only on the county where the minor is a resident as provided by the Texas Family Code.


The rights granted in emancipation, however, are not absolute. There are still some limitations in obtaining certain privileges which require a specific age. The right to vote, for instance, cannot be acquired by an emancipated minor up until the age of eighteen. Vices such as smoking and drinking, or even just buying cigarettes or alcohol are also restricted. On the other hand, the disabilities of a minor may be removed for specific purposes only. Entering a particular contract without eliminating other disabilities can also be ordered by the court.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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