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If a child runs away from their custodial parent to live with her father out of state, what are the possible repercussions?

Vancouver, WA |

The child is sixteen. If she needs to be emancipated, how would that work.

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Attorney answers 3


If the child has run away you have an obligation to advise the authorities. You are the custodial parent so you must take action -- emancipation has nothing to do with the issue. A 16 year old can only be emancipated if she can care for herself, financailly , has a job, is in school and can afford all of the necessities of life on her own without anyone's assistance, including the States. It very rarely happens for a 16 year old unless they are a child actor of music icon.

Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements


Depending on the culpability of the noncustodial parent a criminal charge of custodial interference. The possibility of a contempt charge in family court. A 16 year old person is still a minor and does not necessarily act in their own best interest. Parents are responsible for guiding them. This includes helping foster interpersonal relationships. You can find emancipation paperwork on the Washington State Court website. Counseling a child about that topic is rarely a move in the right direction.


All the "possible repercussions" can't be listed here. You should seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney. It’s always best to consult with a good family law attorney to discuss the details before you act. See my AVVO Legal Guides on contempt and parenting plans for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 29 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful.”

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