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My girlfriend is pregnant. I'm 16. I want to marry her but my legal guardians said they wont let me.

Discussion in 'Emancipation Law' started by Zac Ramer, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. Zac Ramer

    Zac Ramer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I don't know what rights I have, but I know if I am married, I will automatically be emancipated. Of course this is not only about that, but the situation I am in would benefit as a result. I was kicked out of my house and told I can only live with my grandparents but that I cant live at my guardian's house. Now my girlfriend is pregnant (it was 100% planned) and I want to be a father to my child, and not have him/her deemed illegitimate. Please help.Also please don't judge this situation based on your personal views as did the woman on justia. She did not provide any information, and rather just told me how irresponsible I am. I'm trying to be responsible by being a father for my child who I did create regardless of my age. It happened and we are keeping the baby. Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, the legislators who wrote North Carolina's marriage laws really botched up the rules for allowing minors to marry. The statutes allow a minor who is under age 18 but over age 16 (in other words, a 17 year-old) to marry with the consent of his or her parents/guardians. It also allows minors under age 16 but over age 14 (i.e. a 15 year old) to marry when the person is the parent of a child and the minor is marrying the other parent of that child but only after getting approval of the court. So the legislature screwed up twice here. See NC General Statutes (GS) 51-2 and 51-2.1.

    First, by writing it as they did, they left out any way for a 16 year-old to get married. I think that they didn't intend for that result, but it's not clear whether they wanted 16 year-olds subject to the rule allowing marriage with the consent of guardians (regardless of whether there is a child involved) or whether they wanted them to only be able to marry if they were marrying the other parent of a child they created.

    Second, it's odd that the rule for parents having a child together and wish to marry would apply to 15 year olds but not to 16 and 17 year-olds. The law seems to not allow the older kids the same opportunity to marry as the 15 year-olds do. Typically you'd expect the state to give more rights to the older ones, not less.

    Even in the case of the statute allowing you to petition a court to marry the mother of your child, the court must find that allowing the marriage is in your best interests, and the statute provides a rebuttable presumption that the opposition of your parents or guardians means that it would NOT be in your best interests. You'd have to have a good showing that despite their opposition this marriage is indeed in your best interests.

    So the bottom line here is that you're going to have a hard time getting married at age 16 the way the statutes are written. As it stands now, without the consent of your guardians, you'd have to convince a court that (1) the state legislature meant to allow 16 year-olds to marry using the rule allowing you to marry the mother of your child and (2) that, despite your guardian's objections, it is in your best interests to be allowed to marry. You're not going to accomplish that without the help of a family law attorney, so I suggest you consult a family law attorney to see if there is a realistic chance the court would approve the marriage and what it will cost you.

    As for your concern about the child being "legitimate" that does not matter much any more as a child is no longer penalized under the law for being born illegitimate. Your kid will have all the same rights either way. That said, NC is one of the few states that has a statute that expressly allows the parents of a child born out of wedlock to go to court after the child is born and have the court declare the child legitimate. And this particular proceeding doesn't require your parent's approval. You don't even have to be married to get it. So if it is legitimacy that you are concerned about, the state has a way to address it. See NC GS 49-10. Again, though, you'll need some help from a family law attorney to pursue that, too.

    It is unfortunate that you and your girlfriend decided to have a child while you are only 16. That will make things a lot harder for you, for her, and for the child. You will have to support your child, and that's a whole lot harder for a kid who does not even have a high school diploma yet. Having to work, raise, and support your child will also make it much, much harder to continue your education to make an even better life for yourself. Finally, you are going to change a lot between now and age 25. As a result, while you get along with your girlfriend now, there is a good chance that may change as you get older, too. However, what's done is done, but this was almost certainly not a great choice for the two of you to make. But having made it, I urge you and your girlfriend to at least make sure the child doesn't suffer for it. Make the sacrifices you need to make to give the kid a good upbringing.
     
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  3. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    How old is the mother-to-be?
     
  4. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    What a stupid choice you did... You are not going to take care of this child..... Every tax payer will be the ones taking care of that child. Think of it in that sense.... You're not man enough to take care of your own child...
     
  5. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Adoption is an option.
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    This demonstrates why you shouldn't be allowed to make decisions for yourself.

    Well...maybe, just maybe, you should have thought about these things before knocking up your girlfriend. Also, concepts of legitimacy/illegitimacy are archaic (although maybe not in your state).

    You don't need to be married to "be[] a father for [your] child."

    Since you didn't ask a question in your post, I'm not sure what sort of response you're seeking or expecting. Putting aside what "Tax Counsel" wrote, I doubt any sane judge would approve a marriage or emancipation. Your focus should be on becoming the best possible provider for your child, and getting married has nothing to do with that.
     
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  7. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    The odds are certainly stacked against him. But we don't have all the facts, so I don't think it's possible to reach a firm conclusion on how it might come out. That's why the OP needs to see a family law attorney. The fact that the guardians evidently booted the OP out of the house and told to go live with his grandparents tells me that there is a whole lot more to this story than we know.
     
  8. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    What is your current income?
     
  9. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The mother's age is important too. You have left that out.
    In short, without parental/guardian consent from ALL parents/guarduans you would need permission from the court.
    You have said nothing here that suggests any court would grant permission but instead have given reasons why they should not. You would need to prove your ability to care for yourself, spouse, and child without public assistance. You are both likely still students, unemployed or making an insufficient amount to adequately suppport yourselves or a child. You have each exhibited poor decision making and would be highly dependent on government support.
    Marriage and emancipation are simply not options for you. The best thing you can do is stay in school, get the best grades possible, and join the military immediately after graduating. Given your age, doing this will be the best way to provide for yourself and a child.
     
  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    mightymoose likes this.
  11. Zac Ramer

    Zac Ramer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    15 with a month to 16
     
  12. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    If your local laws permit you to marry then you can pursue marriage but if it requires one or both you to gain permission you might have an issue. In addition how old is your GF? this is VERY important
     
  13. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    The North Carolina Age of Consent is 16 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in North Carolina are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.

    North Carolina statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16. A close in age exemption exists when the offender is less than 4 years older. No employee of a K-12(unless they are not a teacher, administrator, student teacher, safety officer, or coach) may engage in sexual activity with a student , unless they are married, regardless of age.

    View list of sexual assault laws & punishments in North Carolina
    North Carolina has a close-in-age exemption. A close in age exemption, also known as "Romeo and Juliet law", is designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent.

    Depending on the situation, the North Carolina close-in-age exemption may completely exempt qualifying close-in-age couples from the age of consent law, or merely provide a legal defence that can be used in the event of prosecution.
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Oh me oh my why?

    Sigh Sigh Sigh
     
  15. Zac Ramer

    Zac Ramer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Very much so. There is a lot going on to where if I am not emancipated, I will not be able to be a good father. I am not stupid, regardless of what most think. This wasnt me and my girlfriend deciding this was just happening one day. This was ran by her parents before it was even seriously considered. Even though my guardians kicked me out of their house, they are still prohibiting me from going anywhere (before the outbreak). This is why it is a necessity for me to be emancipated to take care of my child. I currently work for her father and if I work enough hours during a week, I will make about $500 in my pocket, as well as near $1000 in savings. I think it is also worth noting that me and said girlfriend have been together for almost 2 years.
     
  16. Zac Ramer

    Zac Ramer Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I also think it is worth noting that I am at the top of my class and have basically limitless opportunities on where I can go to college as well as a decent sized savings bond and multiple scholarships
     
  17. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    How much income do you bring in per week/month?
     
  18. Zac Ramer

    Zac Ramer Law Topic Starter New Member

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  19. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    And I think it is worth noting that the odds that any court is going to consider a 16 year old, regardless of his grade point average or opportunities, who deliberately knocked up his 15 year old girlfriend, is eligible for emancipation are, quite bluntly, not very high.

    In fact, if your opportunities are indeed as limitless as you claim, that is a point AGAINST emancipation and marriage at your age; if you are married and emancipated at 16, and with a child no less, all that opportunity goes straight down the drain and you are left with none of them.
     
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  20. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Recalculate your earnings when accounting for rent, utilities, groceries, clothing, and other necessities, childcare andbmedical expenses (babies are expensive), insurance, etc.
    If you can not provide these things AND have savings without public assistance your chances are zero.

    As a minor, your state might even limit the number of hours you can work, which limits your income.

    You need to abandon the idea of marriage or emancipation. You can still be responsible and provide what you can for the child and mother. Odds are that once the child is born and expenses hit the mother's family there will be legal problems to sort out that will complicate things even more for you.
     

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