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Can my mother stop me from moving out on my 18th birthday if I'm still a student in high school in Spokane WA?

Spokane, WA |

There was a nasty divorce between her and my biological father but she won custody of me. He is supposed to be paying child support but doesn't and I want to move out when I turn 18 and start living my life finally, but she keeps saying that I cannot legally leave while I'm still in high school. Is she right or can I say goodbye and walk? Thanks for your time.

Attorney Answers 2


In WA, a person becomes a legal adult at age 18 unless the person has been found by the court to be incompetent.

So, you can leave on your 18th birthday. While you are legally subject to your mother's control while you are under 18, as a practical matter, the police likely is not going to do anything about an older teen running away if the teen voluntarily leaves and does not appear to be in any immediate danger (such as being prostituted, drugged, etc.).

However, before you start running away, have you thought about practical things such as where will you be living? how will you pay rent? where's the money to buy food?

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Already have that all taken care of! Just wanted to make sure there was no way she could stop me! Thanks!


You can leave when you turn 18 if that is your wish.

Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown's responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.

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