What Does ‘Emancipated’ Mean?

The juvenile justice system is a complex one. It operates on different assumptions and ideas about the behavior of young offenders than the adult justice system does. This concept is one that an individual should consider before considering the process of emancipation. While juvenile emancipation wins juveniles a number of privileges in society, it also binds them to an adult system of jail, bail, and punishment that they may not want to engage with.

Juvenile justice system

The juvenile justice system is a system whereby juveniles are given an extraordinary amount of leeway. Juveniles in general face a number of restrictions due to their age. They are not seen as responsible enough to represent themselves in court or to take full responsibility for their actions like their legal guardians.

Therefore, they face a wide variety of punishments. Many of these punishments require adult supervision from legal guardians. Adult responsibility occurs because the adult is seen to take a considerable amount of responsibility for the actions of their minor aged children. In addition to adult responsibility, the juvenile justice system allows for individuals to avoid detention in a vast majority of instances. The juvenile system is often viewed as considerably more lenient than the adult justice system.


Emancipation is a way in which juveniles can avoid many of the restrictions associated with their juvenile status. Exact specifics vary by state. But the California emancipation statute is particularly similar to the emancipation statutes of many other states. Prospective candidates to emancipate a minor must fill out paperwork and undergo a legal process. Their future as emancipated minors may be up to a judge who has heard the specifics of the case. There are some concepts that an individual cannot avoid due to their age.

For example, they may still be banned from drinking alcohol even if they are emancipated. Child support is a complex issue as well if a court wants to emancipate a minor. Since child support is not always dependent on the majority or minority age of a child, child support payments would continue like always. A judge would still determine at what point a parent no longer has to pay child support payments to take care of their child who has been emancipated. However, the emancipated individual will be able to secure almost all other rights that they would be excluded from like regular minor aged children.

These individuals will be able to buy property and work jobs outside of any potential restrictions by their parents. They can choose where to work and where to go to school. There are a number of reasons why a child would be emancipated. Many of these are tied to the treatment of a child by a parent. But some other reasons why a child would be emancipated are tied to a particularly intelligent child who simply wants to unlock their full potential away from their families. Minors have to present a convincing case to a judge with evidence if they ever hope to succeed in an emancipation case.

What to do

Juveniles cannot simply emancipate themselves under the California emancipation statute for no reason. They should most likely seek the guidance and advice of an attorney through the help of a friend or family member. If they have already been emancipated, they need to consider legal help and contact a lawyer if they face the bail bonds process in California.

That system will be unforgiving and will harm their ability to set up and articulate their legal strategy. Therefore, they should go through the bail bonds process in California and then secure release from jail. This process will not happen any differently for them if they are an emancipated minor. Then, the individual should make sure that they show up for their court date or risk further prosecution.


The process of emancipation presents many positives for a juvenile. They may be able to escape an abusive or stifling situation and But it also has its downsides. The decision of emancipation takes hard work, intelligence, and a considerable amount of care. It is never a process that an individual should take lightly for any reason.
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