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Moving out at 17 in Texas?

Orange, TX |

I am 17, and am living with my noncustodial** father who is an alcoholic and is using cocaine. When using, he says and does things that make me uncomfortable and tends to get aggressive. I am filing for emancipation, but that will take a few months and I need out sooner. Can I move out at 17 in Texas either alone or with another responsible adult?

** My mother has full legal and physical custody and lives in Michigan. She kicked me out a couple months before my 17th birthday.

Attorney Answers 3


You are in a most unfortunate situation. It would be useful to know if your emancipation petition was in Texas or Michigan. (Take a look at my Michigan emancipation legal guide here on AVVO.) Consider what might occur if you were to head for Michigan. Your father does not sound like he would seek your return - besides you are "heading home to your mother in Michigan." Then, in Michigan you can find shelter, seek some support from your mother. It would not be a bad idea to visit a recruiter. It sounds like you know how to avoid trouble, and you can see what is available, and exactly when. They have help sometimes in getting you your GED. There are worse ways to live than seeing the world for 3 years at government expense, drawing some pay, getting an education, and learning some benefits. Others here on AVVO may have some more ideas.

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If your mother will give you permission to move, then move. Your father is noncustodial so ... And, if you are contacted by police, tell them about the cocaine use. (Take photos, record, etc.) If he threatens to report you, tell him what evidence you have and that you plan to share. If he reports you, share the information. If he touches you, call the police immediately.

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You have to be 18 to move out but your father being noncustodial has limited means of stopping you. Additionally, as Ms. Henley notes you need to document his illegal activities and then tell him that you're going and if he tries to stop you you will report him. That said, do what you can to keep yourself safe.

Good luck to you

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