How to Get Emancipated From Your Parents in Washington State


If you are 16 years old, but not yet 18, in Washington State, you may petition the court for emancipation from your parents. You must be a Washington resident capable of taking care of your own finances, education, personal affairs and social life to qualify. If your parents or other guardian oppose your emancipation, you must also show the court that denying emancipation harms you. You may need to work with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to complete emancipation.

Things You'll Need

  • "Petition for Emancipation" form
  • "Notice of Hearing" form
  • "Affidavit of Service" form
  • "Decree of Emancipation" form
  • Fill out the required forms. Washington State requires four forms for emancipation, a "Petition for Emancipation," a "Notice of Hearing," an "Affidavit of Service" and a "Decree of Emancipation." Make at least three copies of each form. Keep a copy for your records and a copy for your reference or use as you proceed.

  • File papers with the county clerk. Washington requires that you file the "Petition for Emancipation" and the "Notice of Hearing" with your county clerk. Pay the $50 fee (as of May 2011) to file the "Petition for Emancipation." Keep a copy of the receipt of your fee payment.

  • Serve the papers to all relevant parties. Service, as a legal term, is the delivery of legal documents in a manner prescribed by law. You must either deliver the documents by hand and see that they are in the hands of the recipients or pay a registered process server to do the same. For emancipation in Washington, you must serve your parents or, if the Department of Social and Health Services is your guardian, you must serve that agency.

  • Attend the emancipation hearing. Bring the "Decree of Emancipation" to your hearing. Bring any evidence that you are able to support yourself financially, educationally and socially. If your parents or guardian oppose your emancipation, you must also bring evidence that denying you emancipation causes you harm. Examples of harm may be physical, emotional or sexual abuse in your parents' home or a compelling inability to conduct business in your sole interests. If you meet with opposition, you may have to attend another hearing.

  • Identify yourself as emancipated. If the judge grants emancipation, visit the court clerk to obtain a certified copy of your "Decree of Emancipation." Take the decree to the Department of Licensing to obtain a driver's license or state ID card that declares you are emancipated.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you are emancipated, your parents have no obligation to provide you with a home or education or to pay for anything you do.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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