1. Emancipation by a court order.
2. If parental rights are terminated by an action of the State of Tennessee.
3. There is an adoption, usually by a step-parent.
Emancipation is the relinquishment of parental authority over the child and the termination of the parent’s legal duty to support the child. Essentially, an emancipation means that a minor is given the rights of an 18-year-old adult by a Tennessee Chancery Court and will be recognized as an adult for all legal purposes. These rights include entering into contractual agreements, seeking employment, and filing civil suits against others.
Emancipation can be sought by the parents, a legal guardian, or the minor himself or herself. Emancipation is granted by the chancery court, which has the power to remove the disabilities of minority. A Tennessee Chancellor has discretion to grant the minor seeking emancipation full rights of majority or limited rights for a narrow, specified purpose.
There is no set age limit for emancipation. The question of whether a minor is mature enough to be emancipated from parental control is a question left up to the courts. Emancipation is fact-dependent. However, emancipation may be inferred from the fact that the child is earning his own way and spending his own money as he pleases. Whether a minor has been emancipated is usually a question that depends upon each unique situation.
Child support is not owed to an emancipated child because emancipation relinquishes the parent’s legal duty to support the child. A parent may have a duty to continue paying child support if the child has turned 18, but is still finishing high school. In such a case, the parent’s support obligation continues until the 18-year-old child either graduates high school or the class of which the child is a member graduates, whichever occurs first.
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