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I am about to be 16 in 2 weeks & i really want to be emancipated. My step mom and i do NOT get along what so ever

Elkton, VA |

I was 5 years old when my birth mom died. My grandmother on my mom side got my haft brother and sister. I moved in with my dad and step mom. As long as i can remember me and my step mom have never got along. And i just got braces three days ago & she slaps me in the face and grabs my jaw today and pulls my hair and grabs my throat. So please please help me get emancipated. I need to know everything i can do to get away from her. Please and thank you

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

What you are describing sounds like physical child abuse. You should report the physical abuse to your teachers, guidance counselor, and principal at your school. You should also report it to your deceased mother's parents (perhaps they will be willing to file a petition for custody of you) and to the authorities. The number for the child abuse hotline within the state of Virginia is 1-800-552-7096. The national Child Abuse hotline is 1-800-422-4453. You can also go to the Dept. of Social Services website at www.dss.virginia.gov for further information on reporting child abuse and/or request for removal with them. You may also want to contact the Blue Ridge Legal Services office in Harrisonburg for assistance in defending you against domestic violence. Blue Ridge Legal Services' contact information is 1-866-534-5243.

In order to be legally emancipated, you would need to file a petition for emancipation with the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court in the county in which you leave (from the address in the question, I am guessing that you are either in the eastern portion of Rockingham County or the Western/South portion of Page or Shenandoah counties). To find out further information regarding the preparation and filing of such a petition, you should contact the clerk's office in the appropriate county's J&DR court. In order to be granted emancipation, you will need to prove to the court that you have meet one of the following conditions:
(i) you are legally married
(ii) you are in the active duty of the U.S. armed services OR
(iii) that you willingly live separate and apart from your parents or guardian, with the consent or acquiescence of the parents or guardian, and that you are (or are capable of) supporting yourself and competently managing your own financial affairs.
A copy of the statute can be found online at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+16.1-333

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.

Asker

Posted

Thabk you. My step mom said to me lastnight " i dare you to call social surves!" And i was thinking i never said anything about that. So technoly that is a treat right? Could she get in trouble with the law fot that?

Jennifer E Mandell

Jennifer E Mandell

Posted

I don't know that it is technically a threat. She dared you, but it does not sound from your description like she followed that up with a "consequence" -- not even a vague statement that may or may not be a threat of physical or emotional harm such as "you'll be sorry" or "I'll make you wish you hadn't done that", etc. I would be far more concerned with physical incidents that you described in your initial question. If you report those types of episodes to your school counselor, teacher, and principal, then they will contact social services and report it (I believe that all three are mandatory reporters, meaning that if they suspect child abuse, they are required by law to report it to the authorities -- in this case, child protective services). Is what your step-mother did to you (the physical abuse) potentially a crime that she could be charged with, the answer is yes I believe that it is. However, I don't believe that a threat is technically an assault unless it is a threat of physical violence or some other unlawful conduct. I don't handle criminal law or child abuse cases, though, so I am not really sure what the specific criminal statutes say on this issue without doing some research on it. Please just make sure to report what is happening to some adults at your school. Also, contacting your maternal grandparents might be helpful. They may very well want to have you come live with them and may be able to provide you with some legal and financial assistance to get that done. And, who knows, your step-mother may be perfectly willing to support your moving in with your grandparent(s) and other siblings. Of course, you really only need your dad's permission/consent to go live with your grandmother (unless there is some court order granting your step-mother legal and/or physical custody of you or if she has previously legally adopted you). If not, then your father is really your sole legal guardian -- so you may want to try talking to him about it. HOWEVER, if you feel that talking about these issues with your dad, your grandparents or an adult at your school will put you in physical danger, then just call the abuse hotlines that I mentioned to you earlier and they can help you figure out the safest way out of the situation.

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much. I told my grandmother but she hasnt said anything back i really hope she does somthing.