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Rights at 17

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by vasered, Nov 12, 2009.

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  1. vasered

    vasered Law Topic Starter New Member

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    A former friend of mine has a 17 year old daughter. The 17 year old recently made some mistakes and the mother shipped her off to a farm for delenquent girls. The mistakes she made hurt no one and violated no laws of the state. This kid is a good student, makes good grades, is active in many school clubs and activities even having leadership roles in many. She got her first job at 14 While she was getting good grades, working, etc her parents were busy with drug habits. When she was between 9 and 14 she would take care of her younger siblings while her parents were busy with drug use. There were many times that she would call me to bring food so that they could eat. She is already getting scholarship offers and without scholarships, college wont be possible. Her dad is in rehab and has been for quite a while. Her mom has shipped her 3 hours from home because of a minor mistake, taking away every activity that has gotten the scholarship offers rolling in. Is there any way that I can help her? Can you hold a 17 year old young woman against her will? Could it be in the best interest of a child to take away everything they have worked for and the key to their future?
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    She is not in jail. She can leave at any time. She may not feel like she can... but she can.
    And no... there is not much of anything you can do. It is between the girl and her parents.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    As long as she is still under 18, she has the right to go where her parents tell her to go. When she is 18, she can go anywhere she wants. But as long as she is still a minor, she is legally under the care and control of her parents.
     
  4. vasered

    vasered Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I don't think she is aware that she doesn't have to stay. She is not allowed any phone calls for a month from anyone and no letters except immediate family. Would they have to let her have a phone call if I hire an attorney for her. As far as her parents are concerned, they are done with her and she is there until she turns 18.
     
  5. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Stay out of it; it is not your business. A reputable attorney would tell you the same thing.

    Gail
     
  6. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Who are you to the minor? In other words whats your angle in this?
     
  7. vasered

    vasered Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The 17 year old girl is my niece and I just hate to see the girl lose everything she has worked so hard for over one mistake. She broke no laws, just made a mistake. And, who among us did not make mistakes as teenagers.
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Does "mistake" = pregnant?
     
  9. vasered

    vasered Law Topic Starter New Member

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  10. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    As I said, when she is 18 she can go wherever she likes. Until then, she is legally under the care and control of her parents. Despite what the other poster claims, she cannot just walk out.

    I'm not unsympathetic to her position but a 17 year old is still a minor.
     
  11. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    At 17, her only other choice would be emancipation. One could use the argument that she is old enough, that she is garnering scholarships, that she could live with you, and that he parents are acting against her best interest. Now this "mistake" (it sounds quite mysterious when you say it like that) could factor in. If you want to hire her an attorney, do it for an emancipation hearing.
     
  12. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Emancipation requires that the minor be completely capable of self-support. Given her specific circumstances, unfair as they may be, it is quite unlikely that she will be able to meet the requirements as "I will get a job" is not acceptable. The court will want to see, "I have a job that pays xxx.xx per week, of which xx.xx goes to rent, xx.xx to utilities, xx.xx to food etc. and I earn this money in hours outside of school" before they will consider emancipating a minor.
     
  13. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    If a relative is willing to let the child live with them and assist in support it can be accomplished that way too. It's a bit complicated but that will work.
     
  14. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    If a relative is willing to allow the minor to come with them and the parents agree, that is one potential solution to the immediate problem.

    It will not, however, be sufficient to grant an emancipation, since the relative will be supporting the minor and not the minor herself. Emancipation means that the minor is declared a legal, self-sufficient adult; it does not mean that custody is taken away from the parent and given to someone else.
     
  15. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    In Missouri, a minor may be emancipated in one of three ways:
    1) your parents may give express consent to a court that they are waiving their parental rights;

    2) your parents may give implied consent, which would apply in situations where you have been living on your own, supporting yourself, and for all practical purposes your parents have relinquished their parental rights; and

    3) you experience a significant change in your societal status-such as an enlistment in the military or marriage.


    So we can remove emancipation from the discussion
     
  16. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    Well thank you for your legal opinion Jacksgal but living with a relative and can qualify as number 2. It is NOT absolutely necessary that one get a job to support themselves. One does not have to have a traditional job to be considered "supporting" themselves. They can have income/support from a different source. The uncle can provide her a job for cleaning up around the house and her pay can be room and board. Whether you believe me or not, a Judge is going to be quite sympathetic to a 17 year old who has shown that she can succeed in school, get scholarships and has supportive blood relatives. This isn't a rebelling teen who is storming off because they don't want to obey rules at home.

    As I said before sir, if you want to get her an attorney, talk to one about emancipation under these guidelines and let us know when she comes to your house.

    I've handled a case or two in emancipation, law is rarely as cut and dried as you seem to believe Jacks.

    Good luck to you sir.
     
  17. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Let's chill out a bit, no need for stronger words. ;)

    I honestly think everyone here gave great insight and information, from Gail (who has a good point) to Jacksgal who gave us some actual law to discuss.

    Let me back up and ask 1 somewhat obvious question, at least to me. How far away is she from her 18th birthday? Question 2 - would her parents care if you assumed responsibility for a few months? All the law quoted so far is on point but the reality is that there might not be a whole lot of time for anyone to really care to do anything about a change, especially if the child wants to be with you.
     
  18. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    What strong words are you talking about Prof? Jacks made a very blunt statement that simply isn't true and I was pointing out how my advice fits within the law. I'm not scolding her, just suggesting she not make such cut and dried statements about something that is hardly cut and dried.

    The OP said she is only months away from being 18, and there is plenty of evidence that emancipation is in her best interests if she can support herself. If her Uncle is willing to assist her with that support, emancipation or a temporary transfer of custody is the best means of doing so. She does have options.
     
  19. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I've handled a case or two in emancipation, law is rarely as cut and dried as you seem to believe Jacks.

    Did you handle them in Missouri?
     
  20. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    No, but it is hardly a prerequisite to handle cases in Missouri to be able to formulate a possible legal strategy. If you or anyone else disagrees, that's your prerogative, but could you disagree on a point of law instead of a straw man argument? Do you handle cases in Missouri? I don't know you, so I'm not being crass. Have you ever handled an emancipation? Anywhere? I have. That's my basis for my opinion, what's yours?

    By the way, you will note that my opinion ended squarely with GOING TO A MISSOURI ATTORNEY to see if my proposed legal strategy might fly. So I'm a bit tired of the attacks by some of you who like the little pat answers that come in two sentences or a couple paragraphs from a law book. Law is rarely if ever simplistic in its answers.

    For some reason I'm seen as being rude, I am only rude when people give authoritative answers on subjects that they know precious little about because they have the exalted title of "Moderator" behind their name. I am perfectly willing to be wrong in any of my FREE opinions but you will have to come at me with a little more than sarcasm or a couple lines from the statutes to dissuade me.

    In the end, if this was my niece I would do whatever I could to help her in the situation. I didn't say it would work, I said it was possible. It is possible, and he SHOULD contact someone who is paid to know the answer to this question. In the meantime, I hope I have given you some ideas to work with.

    Good luck sir. I hope you can get your niece into a place where she can help herself.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009

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