Monday, March 19, 2018

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. It is intended to outline the procedures by which a minor may seek and obtain emancipation through this Court. If your questions are not answered here, you should seek advice from a lawyer.
"Emancipation" is a word that has come down to us from Roman law and it means to free a child from parental power. This Court has many inquiries about emancipation of minors and this information is provided as a means of answering most of those questions.
The forms that are needed include:
      1.      Petition for Emancipation, Affidavit, and Waiver of Notice (Form PC100);
      2.      Financial Statement (Form KCPC40);
      3.      Request for Verification of Employment (Form KCPC41);
      4.      Conference on Petition for Emancipation of Minor (Form KCPC38);
      5.      Summons: Order to Appear - Emancipation Proceeding (Form KCPC35);
      6.      Notice of Hearing (Form PC562)
      7.      Three (3) copies of the Proof of Service (Form PC564
KCPC forms are available at the Probate Court and Probate Court forms are available through Court Forms.
Some terms and definitions used in this information may be unfamiliar to you. Knowing the following definitions may help you better understand the information:
PETITION:A written request to the Court to make a particular order. In this case, the Petitioner is asking the Court to order that he/she be emancipated. The Petition must contain certain specific information; therefore, Form PC100 must be used.
PETITIONER: The person who is asking the Court for a particular order. Only the minor can petition to be emancipated, so the minor must sign the Petition.
MINOR: A person under the age of 18 years.
EMANCIPATED MINOR:A person who has been emancipated by operation of law or by court order.
AFFIDAVIT:A voluntary declaration of facts made under oath before a notary. The back page of the Petition for Emancipation contains an affidavit that must be completed before the Petition may be filed.
In Michigan, there are ways a minor can be emancipated without Court order. These are often referred to as "emancipation by operation of law". A minor is automatically emancipated when:
      1.      Validly married.
      2.      Reaches age 18.
      3.      On active duty with armed forces of the United States.
      4.      In need of preventive health care or medical care when the minor is
incarcerated in a state or youth correctional facility or special alternative
incarceration unit and the parent or guardian cannot be located.
      5.      In need of routine, nonsurgical medical care, or emergency treatment when the minor is in the custody of a law enforcement agency and the minor's parent or guardian cannot be located.
      6.      Circuit Court enters order.
A minor seeking Court-ordered emancipation must file a Petition for Emancipation (FormPC100) in the Probate Court/Circuit Court Family Division in the county where he/she lives. (Note: The minor is normally considered a resident of the same county as his parents, even if he/she is living in a different county.) The Cass County Probate Court at 60296 M-62, Cassopolis, Michigan handles these matters for the Circuit Court in Cass County. For telephone numbers see Addresses/Phone Numbers (link) and for directions see Maps/Organizational Chart (link). The petition must be signed by the minor and he/she must declare that the information in the petition is true. The minor must be at least age 16. The Petition must include the following information:
      1.      The minor's name, birth date, and county and state of birth;
      2.      A certified copy of the minor's birth certificate;
      3.      The name and last known address of the minor's parents, guardian, or
      4.      The minor's present address and how long he/she has lived at that address;
      5.      A statement by the minor showing how he/she has demonstrated the ability to manage his/her financial affairs;
      6.      A statement by the minor showing that he/she has the ability to manage
his/her personal and social affairs.
      7.      If the minor's custodial parent is providing support, the parent must consent to the petition.
The Petition must also include an affidavit by an adult who falls into one of the categories listed below, who knows the minor personally, and who believes that emancipation is in the minor's best interests:

      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.    Licensed Child Care Provider
When the Petition for Emancipation is filed, it must be accompanied by a completed Financial Statement (Form KCPC 40), Request for Verification of Employment (Form KCPC 41), and a $150.00 filing fee.
After the Petition is filed, the Court will schedule a pre-hearing conference with an attorney-referee. The minor must attend and the parents or guardian will be given notice that they may attend as well. At the preliminary meeting, the referee will review the evidence to ensure that the minor can prove financial and social independence; to determine whether or not the parent or parents have standing to object; and to determine whether or not the parents are objecting to emancipation. If the minor meets his/her burden of proof, the matter will be set for hearing before a attorney-referee unless there is a request for a Judge. The minor must serve a copy of the Petition for Emancipation and a Summons (Form KCPC 35) to appear on the minor's parents or guardian. A copy of the Petition for Emancipation and a completed Notice of Hearing (Form PC 562) must be furnished to the person who signed the affidavit in support of the minor's Petition for Emancipation. In the interim, the Court may have an investigator look into the matter and file a report. Under certain circumstances, the Court may appoint an attorney for the minor and also for his/her parents, if indigent and they oppose the petition. The court may dismiss the petition if the custodial parent is providing support and does not consent to the petition.
At the hearing, the minor must prove the following:
      1.      The minor is at least 16 years old;
      2.      The minor is a resident of Michigan;
      3.      The minor's parent or guardian does not object, or is not providing support for the minor;
      4.      The minor has demonstrated the ability to manage his/her financial affairs;
 (Note: The minor must have proof of employment or other means of support.
General assistance or aid to families with dependent children does not count.)
      5.      The minor has the ability to manage his/her personal and social affairs. (Note:The minor must have proof of housing.)
      6.      The minor understands his/her rights and responsibilities as an emancipated minor.
After hearing the evidence, the Court will decide if emancipation is in the best interest of the minor. The minor has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that emancipation should be ordered. If emancipation is ordered, the Court must keep a copy of the order until the minor reaches age 25. The Court's decision may be appealed by the minor or a parent or guardian of the minor. Appeals must be filed with the Court of Appeals. If an emancipation order is obtained fraudulently, the order is voidable but the minor is still responsible for any obligations made during the time the order was in effect.
The emancipated minor's rights and responsibilities are almost the same as those of an adult. Some of the minor's new rights include being able to:

      1.      Enter into contracts (i.e. apartment leases).

      2.      Sue or be sued.

      3.      Keep earnings.

      4.      Establish a home.

      5.      Enter into business relationships.

      6.      Earn a living.

      7.      Authorize own health care.

      8.      Apply for driver's license.

      9.      Register for school.

    10.    Marry.

    11.    Apply for medical assistance.

    12.    Apply for welfare, general assistance, AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children).

    13.    Make decisions for own child.

    14.    Make a will.

    15.    Others.
The parent or guardian of a minor or the minor who has been emancipated by a Court order may petition the Circuit Court to rescind or cancel the order if circumstances change. The Petition to Rescind Order of Emancipation and Summons is served on the minor or parents or guardian. The Court must grant the petition if the minor is indigent with no means of support and/or the minor and the parent or guardian agree that the order should be rescinded, and the family relationship has resumed which is inconsistent with the order. If the Petition is granted and an order entered, the Court keeps a copy until the minor is age 25. A rescission order does not effect any contractual obligations, rights, or property interest of the minor during the time the order was in effect. An appeal may be filed by the minor or parent or guardian in the Court of Appeals.
Parents of emancipated minors are not liable for debts of the minor that arose during the time the minor was emancipated.

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