I am 17 years old and in a toxic home life, and want to leave, so I really need to know my options, I am a smart, A student, I am responsible, and resorsful, I understand that living apart from my parents won't be easy, but I am prepared to take responsibility and I am up to the challenge, I have left home 2 times after turning 17 having spoken to social workers who said all I had to do was leave and it would be legal, but I was returned home by the police both times, I have researched emancipation and am looking for any other options I may have
I just want to state that I am not some dumb party kid, I am not a pouty brat who's trying to run away for immature reasons, I am trying to leave a truly toxic and harmful environment, and ready to take on the responsibilities of an adult world
Family Law Attorney
You may not like the answer you get but you should seriously take stock of your situation and understand what it means exactly to "take on the responsibilities of an adult world". Do you have enough to cover rent, food, gas (assuming you drive), insurance for the car and medical for yourself, utilities, incidental fees and funds (in the event you might actually want to buy something), cellphone bill, furniture, clothing, personal items? Can you parlay all the things you are going to be responsible for into your daily routine while still going to school? How are you going to work to get funds and study to go to school and maintain the grades you want? Do you want to go to college?
Social workers may say one thing but the police obviously returned you home to your parents because of the local laws in your area. In some states, the age of majority is 18 years old. Until you reach that age, you are under the care and control of your parents and the law presumes that they know what is best for you. You say you have researched emancipation. I would suggest you speak with an attorney in your area who handles such matters and can better advise you what the laws in TX say you can and cannot do. You have ran-away twice already but that didn't solve your problems (also doesn't say much about you being "responsible"). Knowing what your options are and how to approach them, even if it means you admitting that you're not as resourceful as you may have thought and seeking help, that shows a determined and driven individual.
You should also think seriously about what you are getting yourself into. You are 17, 18 is only a year away for you. If you have not already, you are in your last year of high school. Do not rock the boat when you have established your life already dealing with these issues at home. You do not need the hassles that comes with taking the risk of leaving the household. Maintain your studies, keep your grades up, focus on the ACT/AP/SAT exams and get the grades you need for a scholarship to a university of your choice, preferably far away in your case, and get there. Once you're away, you can then prove to the world how responsible you really are. The fact that, at that point, you will already have demonstrated by sticking things out at home and overcoming them. If you choose this route, speak with an attorney. I'm sure you will be better off for it.
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Financial Markets and Services Attorney
I am very sorry to hear about your toxic situation. To escape, you can wait until your 18th birthday or you can file a legal petition. Texas Family Code, Title 2, § 31 says you “may petition to have the disabilities of minority removed for limited or general purposes if [you’re]:
(1) a resident of Texas;
(2) 17 years of age,
(3) self-supporting and managing your own financial affairs.
If you decide to file, your petition needs to include:
"(1) the name, age, and place of residence of the petitioner;
(2) the name and place of residence of each living parent;
(3) the name and place of residence of the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate, if any;
(4) the name and place of residence of the managing conservator, if any;
(5) the reasons why removal would be in the best interest of the minor; and
(6) the purposes for which removal is requested."
You file the petition in your county of residence (Bexar). After you file, the court will appoint an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem to represent you. If your petition is granted, the court may remove the disabilities of minority of a minor, including any restriction imposed by Chapter 32, “if the court or the Texas Supreme Court finds the removal to be in the best interest of the petitioner.” The order must state the purposes for which disabilities are removed. A minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes has the capacity of an adult, including the capacity to contract. Except as provided by federal law, all educational rights accorded to the parent of a student, including the right to make education decisions under Section 151.003, transfer to a minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes.
I hope you find this information helpful and I hope you achieve a safe & positive outcome. God bless!
Mr. Barranco is an experienced litigator licensed to practice law in Texas and/or the federal court system only. The response provided is not legal advice; it does not create an attorney/client relationship. Mr. Barranco’s answer is intended to provide general information only about the types issues referenced in the reader's question. All readers should confer with an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant state.
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