Which Chapter and Section of the MGL covers a 15 year old having the legal right to choose to live with grandparents, other parent,etc just because they want? If child activated this right and no charges ever brought against either parent, shouldn't I be able to find a legal action in Family and Probate staing child activated right to be emancipated, etc after running away? Child is 21 and in DCF care for some reason but has been living with grandparents which she chose to at 14, waited till 15 and then activated this right that I am not familiar with. I am a Counselor trying to understand my client's unique situation. Any help would be kind.
If this child is 21, the issue of emancipation at 15 is moot.
No minor has the “right” to choose where to live at any particular age. Such assertion is incorrect. In custody disputes between parents or between someone who has petitioned the court for guardianship and the parents, a child 14 or older, sometimes younger, may have their voice and preferences heard via an out of court interview, but even then the child’s views may not carry the day. The court makes a decision based on its finding of the best interests of the child based on all the circumstances.
We have no statute or formal process for a minor to seek emancipation from parents..But a petition to do so can be filed in the Probate & Family Court, and is dealt with case by case. A grant of emancipation is extremely rare and unlikely. Extraordinary circumstances would need to exist. As an example, the case that led to the ability to file such a petition involved the child seeking to be emancipated from the father who had murdered the mother, and where no relative was available for guardianship.
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