Emancipation in North Carolina
Emancipation is the process by which a minor child frees herself or himself from the guardianship and authority of her/his parents. This means that the child is no longer the responsibility of his/her parents and is responsible for his/her own actions. In North Carolina, a minor (person under the age of 18) must be at least 16 years old to seek an order from the court for emancipation.
In determining the best interests of the minor and the justification for emancipation, the court will consider a number of factors including the extent of any family discord that may be at issue, the parent’s need for the minor’s earnings, and the minor’s ability to accept adult responsibilities.
If the emancipation petition is granted, the minor will secure the right to make decisions on her own, to execute contracts, to participate in lawsuits, and to engage in business activities independently. The parents’ duties of support to the minor are thereby ended.