Michigan judges have told me that, because there is nothing they can do to a 17 year old, they are not inclined to waste their time trying to send them home. Another possibility is emancipation. See my AVVO guide to Michigan Emancipation so you can determine if that works for you. Another option is to call child protective services and report the abuse, but it had better be actual abuse, not simply being grounded for life and having more chores to do than Cinderella. You can consult with a local attorney to see how things go in Holland. I cannot see where charges would work if the 17 year old goes voluntarily to relatives. Keep up school attendance, in case you want to seek emancipation. Talk to a recruiter to see if you can enlist with delayed entry. You can end up with a place to live, pay, food, and see the world, add to your education, and earn some college benefits.
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Dear Avvo susbscriber,
Before you take any action you should consult with an attorney in your area. More facts need to be considered in this situation.
In any event, and assuming the teen is financially independent, it sounds like this teen may be a good candidate for considering filing a petition for emancipation. This can be accomplished by referencing the applicable Michigan statute, MCL 722.4a:
"(1) A minor seeking emancipation shall file a petition for emancipation in the family division of circuit court in the county where the minor resides. The petition shall be signed and verified by the minor, and shall include all of the following information:
(a) The minor's full name and birth date, and the county and state where the minor was born.
(b) A certified copy of the minor's birth certificate.
(c) The name and last known address of the minor's parents, guardian, or custodian.
(d) The minor's present address, and length of residency at that address.
(e) A declaration by the minor indicating that he or she has demonstrated the ability to manage his or her financial affairs. The minor may include any information he or she considers necessary to support the declaration.
(f) A declaration by the minor indicating that he or she has the ability to manage his or her personal and social affairs. The minor may include in this section any information he or she considers necessary to support the declaration."
The form can be found at the Supreme Court Administrative Office website at www.scao.org and it is form PC 100.
From the factual scenario you provided, it does not sound like the friend's family has done anything inappropriate. The mother may accuse the friends of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but if the minor can support himself/herself and manage their own social and financial affairs, the mother would be hard pressed to accuse the friends of any inappropriate conduct.
You may also tell the teen to contact the local county bar association office. The local bar association may provide resources or refer the teen and his mother to private mediation. Mediation can be a very emotionally rewarding process.
In short, more facts are needed in order to assess a complete evaluation of this situation. Referencing the applicable statute and petition should be a good start.
If you have any questions further questions please feel free to contact me.
If this teen is being abused, he can simply report it to anybody at school, like a counselor or teacher. They are all mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. This will get child protective services involved. If mom is abusive to the point that it isn't safe to be in the home, the 17 year old could be placed with the other family. However, many judges won't bother with a 17 year old because they're so close to being an adult. At this age, many judges will say the 17 year old is going to use their feet to decide where to lay their head down each night. Emancipation is the other option. This whole situation is really dependant on what the teen considers "abuse." Many teens seem to mix up "abuse" and "very controlling" with what's called "parenting." I've yet to meet a healthy 17 year old male of sound mind who's mother can actually physically abuse him.