How to Get Emancipated in Kentucky


Kentucky does not currently have a codified statute detailing the requirements for emancipation. However, children wishing to be released from the bonds of their parents may attempt to do so through the court system. Consent of the parents and the child are required unless the emancipation is achieved through implication. The Kentucky legislature has introduced a possible emancipation statute for inclusion in its family law code.

  • Evince an intent to be legally emancipated from parents and guardians. While there currently are no statutes in Kentucky to guide parties as to the requirements of emancipation, children under age 18 must be capable of fully supporting themselves, living on their own and continuing education. If the child is already living on his own and is under no support from his parents in any way, he is impliedly emancipated. Implied emancipation can be revoked if the parents seek guardianship over the child.

  • Receive consent from parents or legal guardians. To become fully emancipated, the child must obtain full consent to emancipation from both parents or guardians. Written or oral consent will suffice. Consent is implied in a situation where the child has been living on his own or the parents have not played any role in his life. If the parent permitted the child to leave the home and live on his own, this will be considered consent as well.

  • Draft a pleading for submission to the local district court. A court order is required to legally emancipate a child from his parents. The child must submit a petition for the judge's review. The petition should first state the facts of the case; namely, the child's permanent address where he is living on his own, his plans to remain in school, his source of income and any other material information helpful to the court to determine whether emancipation is appropriate. Parents and guardians must submit petitions as well in opposition to or in support of the emancipation. Absent a valid emancipation, Kentucky recognizes parents' rights to collect any and all earnings of a minor child.

  • Attend your scheduled emancipation hearing. Once all parties have submitted petitions in support of or against an emancipation, the court will set a hearing date on the docket. On this date, the child and his parents must appear before the judge. The parties may be required to testify or provide the court with additional information about the family dynamic pertaining to emancipation. Once the judge is satisfied he has heard all relevant evidence, he will issue a decree either granting an emancipation or denying the petition. In most cases, the decree will take place at the conclusion of the hearing. Other times, the judge may make his decision in the days or weeks following the hearing.

  • Understand that emancipation does not waive laws pertaining to minors. Emancipated children still are not legally allowed to purchase or consume alcohol, cigarettes or tobacco. The law still requires court permission for abortions for girls under 17. Laws pertaining to driving and operation of motor vehicles remain unchanged even for the emancipated minor. Children still must attend school, pass all their classes and graduate.


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