Get your questions answered on Emancipation

  • Introduction
  • Emancipation by Operation of Law
  • Emancipation by Court Order
  • Petition Requirements
  • Affidavit Requirements
  • Notice of Hearing
  • Court Action After Petition is Filed
  • Factfinder at Hearing
  • Burden of Proof
  • Orders Obtained by fraud
  • Rescissions of Emancipation Orders
  • Record Keeping Requirements
  • Appeals
  • Effect of Emancipation
  • Introduction

1988 PA 403, effective March 30, 1989, amended the emancipation of minors act (MCL 722.4 et seq; MSA 25.244 et seq) by adding 5 sections (4a-4e) that specify the procedures to follow when a petition requesting emancipation is filed with the probate court.

  • Emancipation by Operation of Law
Section 4(2) provides that emancipation occurs by operation of law:

  1. when a minor is validly married,
  2. when a person reaches the age of 18 years,
  3. during the period when the minor is on active duty with the armed forces of the United States, and
  4. for the purposes of consenting to routine, nonsurgical medical care or emergency medical treatment to a minor, when the minor is in the custody of a law enforcement agency and the minor’s parent or guardian cannot be promptly located. The minor or the minor’s parent shall remain responsible to the costs of any medical care or treatment rendered pursuant to this subdivision. An emancipation pursuant to this subdivision shall end upon the termination of medical care or treatment or upon the minor’s release from custody, whichever occurs first.
  • Emancipation by Court Order

Section 4(3) states that an emancipation occurs by court order pursuant to a petition filed by a minor with the probate court as provided in sections 4a to 4e.

  • Petition Requirements
Section 4a(1) states that the petition must be filed in the probate court in the county where the minor resides, must be signed ad verified by the minor, and must include the following information:

  1. The minor’s full name and birth date, and the county and state where the minor was born.
  2. A certified copy of the minor’s birth certificate.
  3. The name and last known address of the minor’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
  4. The minor’s present address, and length of residency at that address.
  5. 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.
  6. A declaration by the minor indicating that he or she has the ability to manage his or her personal or social affairs. The minor may include in this section any information he or she considers necessary to support the declaration.
  • Affidavit Requirements
Section 4a(2) states that the petition shall include an affidavit by any of the following individuals declaring that the individual has personal knowledge of the minor’s circumstances and believes that under those circumstances emancipation is in the best interests of the minor:

  1. Physician.
  2. Nurse.
  3. Member of the clergy.
  4. Psychologist.
  5. Family therapist.
  6. Certified social worker.
  7. Social worker.
  8. Social work technician.
  9. School administrator.
  10. School counselor.
  11. Teacher.
  12. Law enforcement officer.
  13. Duly regulated child-care provider.
  • Notice of Hearing

Section 4a(3) requires that a copy of the petition and a summons to appear at the hearing shall be served in the minor’s parent or guardian, and that a notice of hearing shall be sent to the individual who provided the affidavit pursuant to § 4a(2).

  • Court Action After Petition is Filed
Section 4b states that after a petition is filed, the court may do one or more of the following:

  1. Assign an employee of the court to investigate the allegations of the petition and to file a report containing the results of the investigation with the court.
  2. Appoint legal counsel for the minor.
  3. Appoint legal counsel for the minor’s parents or guardian if they are indigent and if they oppose the petition.
  4. Dismiss the petition if the minor’s custodial parent does not consent and is providing support.
  • Factfinder at Hearing

Section 4c(1) states that the hearing on the petition shall be before a judge or a referee sitting without a jury and that the hearing must be before a judge if the minor so requests.

  • Burden of Proof
Section 4c(2) provides that the minor who petitions the court shall have the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that emancipation should be ordered.

Section 4c(2) states that the court shall issue an emancipation order if it determines that emancipation is in the best interest of the minor and the minor establishes all of the following:

  1. That the minor’s parent or guardian does not object to the petition; or if a parent or guardian objects to petition, that the objecting or guardian is not providing the minor with support.
  2. That the minor is at least 16 years of age.
  3. That the minor is a resident of the state.
  4. That the minor has demonstrated the ability to manage his or her financial affairs, including proof of employment or other means of support. "Other means of support" does not include general assistance or aid to families with dependent children administered under the social welfare act.
  5. That the minor has the ability to manage his or her personal and social affairs, including, but not limited to, proof of housing.
  6. That the minor understands his or her rights and responsibilities under this act as an emancipated minor.
  • Orders Obtained be Fraud

Section 4c(5) states that an emancipation order obtained by fraud is voidable, and that voiding such an order does not effect an obligation, responsibility, right, or interest that arose during the period of time the order was in effect.

  • Rescissions of Emancipation Orders
Section 4d states that a parent of an emancipated minor may petition the probate court for a rescission of the emancipation order. A copy of the rescission petition must be served on the minor or the minor’s parents. Section 4d(3) states that the court must grant the petition if it determines one or more of the following:

  1. That the minor is indigent and has no means of support.
  2. That the minor and the minor’s parents agree that the order should be rescinded.
  3. That there is a resumption of family relations inconsistent with the existing emancipation order.
Section 4d(5) provides that rescission of an emancipation order does nor alter any contractual obligations or rights or any property rights or interests that arose during the period of time that the emancipation order was in effect.

  • Record Keeping Requirements

Sections 4c(4) and 4d(4) require the court to maintain a copy of an emancipation order or a rescission order until the emancipation minor becomes 25 years of age.

  • Appeals

Sections 4c(6) and 4d(6) provides that appeals of emancipation orders or rescissions of emancipation orders (or denials of orders) may be filled by the minor or the minor’s parents in the Court of Appeals.

  • Effect of Emancipation
Section 4(e)(1) states that an emancipated minor shall have the rights and responsibilities of an adult, except for constitutional and statutory age requirements regarding voting, use of alcoholic beverages, and other health and safety regulations based on age. The rights and responsibilities of the emancipated minor include (but are not limited to) all of the following:

  1. The right to enter into enforceable contracts, including apartment leases.
  2. The right to sue or be sued in his or her own name.
  3. The right to retain his or her own earnings.
  4. The right to establish a separate domicile.
  5. The right to act autonomously, and with the rights and responsibilities of an adult, in all business relationships, including, but not limited to, property transactions and obtaining accounts for utilities, except for those estate or property matters that the court determines may require a conservator or guardian ad litem.
  6. The right to earn a living, subject only to the health and safety regulations designed to protect those under the age of majority regardless of their legal status.
  7. The right to authorize his or her own preventive health care, medical care, dental care, and mental health care, without parental knowledge or liability.
  8. The right to apply for a driver’s license or other state licenses for which he or she might be eligible.
  9. The right to register for school.
  10. The right to marry.
  11. The right to apply to medical assistance program administered under the social welfare act, if needed.
  12. The right to apply for other welfare assistance, including general assistance and aid to families with dependant children.
  13. The right, if a parent, to make decisions and give authority in caring for his or her own minor child.
  14. The right to make a will.
Section 4(e)(2) states that the parents of a minor emancipated by court order are jointly and severally obligated to support the minor. However, the parents of a minor emancipated by court order are not liable for any liable debts incurred by the minor during the period of emancipation.

 

Delinquency Proceedings, Probate Court Benchbook, May 1990.