Emancipation terminates a parent’s obligation to support their child. Emancipation generally occurs when a minor reaches the age of 18 and has graduated high school. Whether a minor can be emancipated even before that time is a fact-intensive analysis. An emancipated minor must demonstrate they are able to assume all legal responsibility for themselves. Factors that are often considered include the child’s age, marital status, ability to support themself, and the desire to live independently of their parents. A decision on emancipation would be made based on the totality of the circumstances after examining all the facts in any given case.
Even if a minor is determined to be emancipated, it is not necessarily a permanent determination. If the circumstances supporting emancipation change, the child may no longer be considered emancipated. Based on PA case law, a minor’s marriage weighs heavily in favor of finding emancipation. Other key factors based on case law include the child moving out of the parent’s home and having a job to support themselves. Often times, emancipation may be raised if the child stops attending school prior to completion, particularly by parents who do not believe they should continue to be liable for support.