• Can I ‘divorce’ my parents?

    Date: 08.16.07 | by Judge Tom.

    In 1992, a Florida boy named Gregory K.* got a court order terminating his mother’s parental rights and giving him the legal right to become a member of his foster family. His birth father didn′t contest the adoption. In effect, Gregory “divorced” his parents.

    This was a unique case because it was filed by a child with help from his lawyer. Usually, the state or a child welfare agency files this type of lawsuit on behalf of a child. However, when Gregory was eleven, he decided he wanted to remain in the foster home where he′d lived for nine months.

    Because he′d been neglected and abused by his parents, Gregory had been in foster care for two years. He hadn′t seen his mother in eighteen months. He thought she had forgotten about him. His new foster parents wanted to adopt him, and the court determined that this was best for Gregory.

    Photo by Monochrome (Flickr)

    Gregory′s case opened the door for a whole new discussion and review of children′s rights. State legislatures and courts across the country are paying attention to the reasonable and legitimate demands of minors. The emphasis now is on “permanency” for all children and teenagers in foster care. If kids are unable to return home or be placed with relatives, alternative permanent homes are sought. Public and private agencies are taking legal action toward terminating parents′ rights in the appropriate cases.

    This doesn′t mean that because you don′t like being grounded, you can go to court and get new parents. This is a serious decision that′s limited in its application. Only in the most extreme situation, and usually as a last resort, will the legal rights of a parent be terminated.

    If things are seriously wrong in your family and you have questions or problems that you′ve been keeping to yourself, find someone you trust and can talk to. A school counselor, teacher, clergy member, or adult friend or family member may be someone you can turn to. Don′t let the situation get so out of control that your health and safety are at risk. Community groups or Child Protective Services (CPS) are good resources for assistance.

    “Divorcing” your parents may also mean obtaining an emancipated status before you reach the age of majority (18 in most states). See emancipation for more information about this process.

    *Kingsley v. Kingsley, 623 So.2d 780 (1993).

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    31 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Savanna
      Sat, 29 Nov 2008 at 07:27

      I belive that you should be able to divorce your parents. I think you should only if you have good reason.

    • Cassie
      Fri, 03 Apr 2009 at 01:55

      I THINK YOU SHOULBE ABLE TO DIVORCE YOUR PARENTS IF SOMTHINGS IS WRONG OR YOUR PARENTS NOT TREATEING YOU RIGHT………..

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Whether you can “divorce” your parents or not depends on the specific laws of your state or country. There are very strict rules about this area of law that’s usually referred to as “termination of parental rights.” Oftentimes it’s easier and better in the long run to work on the issues that get you thinking about this. Of course, if you’re being abused, you need to be protected and should call the police or Child Protective Services for help.

    • flore meza
      Tue, 16 Feb 2010 at 10:56

      IF I DIVORCE MY PARENT CAN I GO STAY WITH MY SISTER THAT HAS BEEN ALWAYS THEIR FOR ME
      Dear Flore: Strictly speaking, you don’t actually “divorce” your parents. But every state has a process where your parental rights to a child may be terminated. It’s called a severance or termination proceeding, and a court must decide whether the termination is in the child’s best interests. If it is, then the court will decide where the child will live and it could be a relative such as your sister. Depending on the laws of your state, your parents could also sign legal papers giving you up for adoption or guardianship by someone else. It’s best to talk with a lawyer who specializes in these matters. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • ana garza
      Wed, 07 Jul 2010 at 03:20

      if i divorce my parents can i stay living with my 19 year old friend? im 13
      Dear Ana: There has to be very strong reasons for a court to end the legal relationship between a child and a parent. The process is called a “termination of parental rights” or “severance.” It’s similar to a divorce but not called that. If a court does sever these rights, the next decision the judge faces is where the child is to live. It’s unlikely that a judge would allow a 13-year-old to live with a 19-year-old unless there were exceptional circumstances such as the two were siblings and the 19-year-old was mature and responsible to handle the job. If your parents have been abusive or neglectful and the state is involved, both Child Protective Services and the judge try to place you in the best available environment. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Davis
      Tue, 20 Jul 2010 at 07:59

      If I have been taken from my parents on abuse issues and I am living with my sister and her family until an official rights termination is made, what will happen to me now that my sister and her husband are now getting a divorce. Technically I am stuck in the middle belonging to no one. I want to stay with my sisters husband because it is best for me… Help!!! And I am 16 if of helps and live in Georgia
      Dear Davis: It sounds like you’re under a court order to live with your sister until the parental termination case is decided by the court. Now that your sister may be getting a divorce, that doesn’t necessarily change the custody order of the court. If your brother-in-law has moved out, you need to stay with your sister unless they’ve agreed to let you live with him. This also depends on the exact language of the court order. If the adults involved can’t agree then the judge will decide what’s in your best interests. If the court has appointed a lawyer for you or what is called a guardian ad litem, contact that person and tell them what’s going on and what you’d like to see happen. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Concern Wife
      Mon, 23 Aug 2010 at 07:19

      Hello,

      I am writing to you because my husband ex-wife has been harassing him about giving up his parental rights and if that doesn’t happen, then she will have their daughter try to divorce her father. My question is can the ex-wife get away with having their child try to divorce her father because he refuses to give up his parental rights?
      Also we live in Florida and we would like to know what type of lawyer do we request for on this type of issue? Again the question is can the ex-wife get away with having their child divorce her father, all because the ex-wife wants him to give up his parental rights?
      Dear Wife: First we must tell you that Askthejudge.info is an educational website for and about teenagers and the law. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. Since your question relates to children we can tell you that a family law attorney in your area is the person you need to consult. Many courts around the country have free legal assistance programs [FLAP] in family court. You receive a consultation from 30 to 60 minutes and the attorney would then be available to retain if you wanted to. Technically, there is no divorcing your parents. There is a process where parental rights may be terminated by court order called a severance or termination. It is not easy to obtain and strictly follows your state’s severance laws. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • shawna
      Mon, 06 Sep 2010 at 11:46

      hi im 16, my parents are divorced. i was wondering if there was a way that i can choose when i get to see which parent. my dad is the one who decides and i dont like that at all. i would like more time with my mom.
      Dear Shawna: Explain to your dad what you have in mind and why. If you’ve told your mom and your parents are on speaking terms, maybe she could talk with him as well. In less than two years you’ll be an adult and be able to make many of your own decisions. Your parents were 16 at one time and hopefully they’ll remember how it was for them. Keep your discussion civil and calm – positive results come easier when tempers and patience are in check. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Brittany Nestell
      Thu, 28 Oct 2010 at 10:40

      I want to get a divorce from my parents Beacause all they do is yell at me and make me a slave and im tired of it
      Dear Brittany: “Divorcing” your parents is difficult to do. In cases of severe neglect or physical abuse, the courts approve foster care or termination of parental rights (divorce). If you are being physically abused or neglected, Child Protective Services may conduct an investigation. It could result in being removed from your home and placed in foster care. But this is a last resort. Try talking with your parents about how you feel and the changes you’d like to see happen. You could also talk with a school counselor or some other adult you trust about what’s going on. All the best, Britteny.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Michelle
      Mon, 15 Nov 2010 at 11:00

      I am a 34 year old mother of 4. My oldest daughter went to live with her father and step mother when she was 5. They used my now ex husband against me. I paid child support on her for 5 years and never got to see her because there was no visitation order in place because I couldnt afford a lawyer. I had started to save money to get one and my youngest daughter died. When she was 11 I filed for SUPERVISED visitation. My lawyer quit because I couldn’t give him $1,350 after we had agreed that I would be making payments and had just given him $400 2 weeks before the court date. So since I didn’t have an attorney, my visitation was denied. Well, like a dumbass, I said If I’m not gonna get to see her, I don’t wanna have to pay child support, so I let her step-mom adopt her. About a year an a half later, they sent her to stay with her step-grandpa and his wife. She got into a fight with his 14 year old daughter, and my daughter is now in foster care. She contacted me last month and I got to see her and hug her for the first time in 9 years!! She has been mentally abused. They told her that I abused her when she was little, they only want her to come back so that she can be their housekeeper and baby sitter. They went to court last week to review the case and she told the judge she never wants to go back home. Her step mom has forbidden her to have any contact with my side of the family, and they had her moved the day before court so that her last foster mom couldn’t go to court and say what all has happened with her and her step mom. My daughter told the judge about her step mom telling her that she was going to make her life a living hell any chance she got, and it was heard by her foster sister over speakerphone. I am wondering if my daughter can divorce them if I am willing to take her in. She wants to come live with me. I have told her that it isn’t peachy in my house, she will have chores and a curfew. I’m not just gonna let her run amok. Would it be worth it to try so that she can get out of foster care and not have to go back to her stepmom?
      Dear Michelle: You ask if it would be “worth it” to try to get your daughter back. That’s a question only you can answer. Is it worth it to you considering her age, your history with her and the nine years you haven’t seen her, etc? If yes, then talk with a family law attorney and get a legal assessment about your chances of succeeding and how to go about doing this. You may be her birth mother but since she’s been adopted, your legal rights may not exist depending on the laws in your state. Since a court is currently involved with her custody and visitation, it’s safe to assume that the court is looking out for her best interests. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Ibrahem
      Wed, 17 Nov 2010 at 07:04

      Hi,
      Im 15 now, and over-all my life has been so-so
      like i have everything I need, and ive seen tonnes of countries and such, but i feel abused. Its the second i open my mouth when everyone objects, makes a big deal out of it, and i turn out the demon. My grades arnet that high and for that my parents embarrassed me in front of my teacher. My father “helps” but really all he does is tell my that my mother is right and im angry. (He dosnt live me but my parents arnet divorced) BTW i live in canada. What should i do? i dont know weather to divorce or to take different action….i need legal and human advice D:
      Dear Ibrahem: Maybe you are angry and it may be understandable. Talk with either your parents or someone you trust about what’s on your mind. It’s never healthy to keep everything inside. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel if you confide in someone, even if things don’t change. Having an outlet makes a difference. Maybe a relative, parent of a friend or school counselor can help. We can’t give you legal advice but we recommend discussing everything with a trusted adult. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Landon Jones
      Thu, 02 Dec 2010 at 06:05

      Hi, I’m 16 yrs old and i will be 17 in exactly one month. My parents are devorced but my mom has legal custody of me and my dad just has visiting rights. I recently came out to my parents about being gay. My dad can’t stand it and is constantly on my back and he would tell me how gross I am and he told me one night that if my mom wouldn’t have been there to protect me that he would be in jail right now. So i don’t want anything to do with him anymore. Now, my mom is ok with the fact that im gay but she is keeping me locked up in the house and I’m going insane. She constanly yells and cusses at me because everytime we talk about anything it turns into a fight. I’m done with her controlling me because she is completely unfair about everything. And all she makes me do is clean the house, do chores, and wait on her all day because she is lazy. I want to divorce both my parents. I don’t care if i have to live on my own and take care of myself or if i go to a foster home. I just want away from them! Please help me and tell me how to do this because i want to move out now!
      Dear Landon: Thanks for reaching out to us in this difficult time for you. You need to confide in an adult that you trust about what is going on. That can be a relative, a friend’s parent, or someone at school such as a counselor, teacher or staff member. If you are being abused or neglected, you can call ChildHelp USA at 1-800-4-A-Child for assistance. Without a job or income it would be difficult to be on your own. We also suggest that you contact the “It Gets Better Project” at:
      http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/about-it-gets-better-project/
      This is a new program for gay teens that will help you see a better time ahead for you. Feel free to write to them and join the Project. Especially since you’ve just come out, the support they provide will be helpful. All the best, Landon.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Victor
      Mon, 06 Dec 2010 at 09:11

      im victor turning 16 in two months. My dads been abusive to me physically. Mainly because id lie or go to my friends house or borrow my friends psp or get bad grades. Im currently under my moms custody, nd i cant see him without an adult but im plain scared of him, he still lives under the same roof with me. My mom and me always argue samething with my mom and me. I want to be emancipated. I have friends and family that would take care of me nd im wondering what I should do?
      Dear Victor: If your mother has legal custody talk with her about allowing you to live elsewhere. If she knows the parents of your friends who might take you in, then maybe that will work out. Since you’re still a minor you are required to obey your parents but they can make living arrangements for you outside the home. Not all states have emancipation for minors. It is not an easy process to complete – the requirements are strict and usually require that you already be supporting yourself. Google the name of your state and the word “emancipation” for the details that would apply to you. Your best approach is to calmly discuss your concerns and wishes with your parents. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sarah
      Wed, 15 Dec 2010 at 11:40

      Hello,
      I am 17 years old ang I’m shy of almost being 18!
      I have a friend who is adopted and he’s a year younger than me. His parents not only mentally and psychologically abuses him, but they physically abuse him to when ever they feel like it because they’re always angry at him and hold grudges when he hasn’t done anything to deserve the way they treat him. He loves his family, but he knows that his environment is not safe for him and it’s only getting worse by the day! He doesn’t wish to leave them, but what can he do where maybe his parents and him can be forced by the court to do family counseling? or if he did decide to leave, he doesn’t wish to have to move from the area he lives in because he wants to finish the high school he is currently going to and his friends are his only family. My folks are more than willing to take him in if he needs a home, and help him with things he need and to help him get into college! But, can he divorce his parents and have the choice to move in with my family if my family will help him? His family doesn’t even help provide the stuff he needs for school or even at times personal stuff like clothes unless he slaves around the house to earn money. What can he do? How can my family and I help?
      Dear Sarah: First, you and your parents are to be commended for your concern about this boy and his welfare. It is not easy to obtain a court order removing a minor from his or her home unless there is evidence of abuse. Your state laws spell out what constitutes abuse and neglect. Living in a marginal environment isn’t enough in most states to support court interference or removal. Especially in this case where you say he doesn’t want to leave his parents and he loves them. Since you know the details regarding his home life, you could contact a juvenile law attorney in your area and discuss the possibilities regarding his safety. You could also call Child Protective Services and file a report. You can do this anonymously and they may conduct an investigation. If the facts show that he’s not in any danger but just in a strict environment, it’s unlikely that CPS would remove him. They could, as you suggest, offer the family counseling. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jynessa Clarke
      Mon, 03 Jan 2011 at 04:27

      I’m 13 and i hate my household! i found out my moms cheating on my dad with at least three other guys. my parents fight sometimes and it breaks my heart! i feel betrayed by my mother and i don’t feel with living with my parents anymore! its become way to hard to concentrate in school and out of school. Is it possible to leave my parents and go live with a friend my age and her family legally? i don’t wanna have to do this but i feel trapped Ive considered many other ways. Ive thought about running away and giving up, but i don’t want that. I want to live with my friend. is it legal?? please help!!
      Dear Jynessa: At your age it’s not possible to just leave and live where you want. There are laws that protect you from abuse and neglect as well as laws you must follow about obeying your parents. We suggest you sit down with an adult that you trust and explain how you feel and why. If not your mom and dad, then another adult relative that may be able to help you out. Or talk with a counselor at school. Running away may seem like the only option, but it will only make a bad situation worse and your safety would be at risk. Talking with a friend or friend’s parent may help – don’t let things build up inside. Open up to someone you trust and hopefully your life will improve. We’ll be thinking of you, Jynessa. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tamela D.
      Wed, 08 Jun 2011 at 12:32

      I’ve had trouble with both my parents for since I was about five or so, I’m sixteen now and I do have a mind of my own due to the way that my parents raised me.
      My family is more of a ‘Give you something then take that something that I just gave you back’ type of family, especially with my parents. I’ve given this thought but whenever I’ve asked questions about it, everybody has told me that it’s out of my reach.- That my reasons aren’t good enough and I don’t have a job. I’m not doing well in school from the stress of my mom and dad but it seems as if that’s just an excuse.
      I would like to get along better with my parents, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t think that’s going to happen for me despite the mask they put up.
      I’m seeing a counsler about my problems because my parents don’t want to talk about them, but that’s not seeming to help with much other then a calming after the fight thing which makes me seem bi-polor.
      I simply want to move out of my parents house so they can stop accusing me of multiple things and not have anything to do with them there-after.
      But they always threaten me with things such as ‘You know you won’t be able to take this and that with you when you leave’ or ‘You’re going to drop out of high school’ and ectect. It’s a complete blow to my confidence and it’s bullying me. They reject everything that I do, and nothing is good enough for them. So I want no part of their life.
      But I need an affordable way of doing this without them being able to fight back to keep me and higher a lawyer that will say they’re the best parents in the world and that everything they do is acceptable.
      Help??
      Dear Tamela: There may not be much you can do about your living situation until you reach adulthood. Unless your parents are abusing or neglecting you, the state (Child Protective Services) won’t get involved. We’re glad you’re seeing a counselor so there is someone you can open up to and obtain advice. Becoming an emancipated minor is not an easy status to obtain. If your state has an emancipation law, you probably need to show the court that you can support yourself and make adult decisions regarding all aspects of your life. Google the name of your state and “emancipation of minor” for the details that apply to you. Keep your chin up and try to make the best of things. You’ll be 18 soon and can then move on with your life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cindy Vang
      Tue, 23 Aug 2011 at 04:35

      Hi, my mom’s planning to move to MN and take all the kids under 18 to MN and remarried there in Oct. But i’m only 16 and do not wish to move there.I have a job here and good responsible friends who supports me along with my older brothers and sisters . I was wondering how long does it usaully take to Emancipate from my mom. Since my mom has all custody and my dad can’t have any i have no way out . but my friends showed me i can be emancipated from my mom if i wish to do so , so i can keep my job and still go to school instead of transfering all the way from california to MN. So i can jus live with my older brothers and sisters who are still staying here in california and all help pay for the rent and Smud and Epg And along with other bills ?
      Dear Cindy: There are several ways to handle this situation. You can apply for emancipation in California but need to follow the steps required under the state’s emancipation law. Take a look at this government website for the details:
      http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/family/emancip/emanforms.htm
      Or if your mother agrees to leaving you with adult relatives (your older brothers and sisters) she can do that without involving the court. She can sign a power of attorney granting one of these adults the authority to make decisions for you and consent to any needed medical care or other legal documents requiring a signature of an adult.
      If one of your adult relatives or other adult agrees to taking custody of you, they could apply to the court for guardianship. If your parents agree, the court may grant the guardianship. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ecstacy
      Sat, 03 Sep 2011 at 11:05

      I would like to be emancipated as soon as possible. My parents are highly involved in their Christian religion. I am scared that if I tell my parents about my sexuality they will go to drastic terms. They told me a couple days ago that if I was “like that” that it had better stop. It hurts to hear them say horrid things about gays and I have cried myself to sleep many times, even thought about suicide. I also have a grade point average of a 3.8, but its not good enough for them. I am being pushed very hard. I am forced to go to church every Sunday even if I have a lot of school work to do. There was even a day that I was feeling past the point of sick. I had an extreme headache, felt nauseous, and weak. I stood up and felt as if I were going to pass out. There wasn’t anybody home when I woke up so I called my dad. He was at a Christian outreach and I told him what was going on as I was sobbing on the phone with him. All he did was pray for me. I called my best friend’s mom who happened to be a nurse and she took care of me for the day. I don’t feel as if I am living in a safe environment. I am a responsible person and I try hard at everything I do. I am fifteen years old. I have had an interview at a local grocery store hoping to get the job and an adult that I am promised a house to live in.
      Dear Ecstacy: We’re very sorry to hear about your situation. As for becoming emancipated, not all states have emancipation laws. To find out the specific laws in your state, try Googling your state’s name and “emancipation laws”. The states that do have emancipation laws usually make it somewhat difficult for a minor to become emancipated. For example, the minor has to show the court that they are financially independent and able to pay all of their own bills including rent, utilities, groceries, etc. More importantly, you need to talk to an adult you trust about your situation at home whether it’s a teacher, school counselor, relative or a friend’s parent. They may be able to help you. If you feel you are in danger of any form of abuse or neglect, you need to call the Child Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. There are additional resources you can call for help and guidance including the National Hopeline Network that has counselors available to speak to you when you are feeling suicidal. The number is 1-800-SUICIDE. For additional resources that can provide support and assistance to you, please click here. For a list of organizations that provide support and counseling services for LGBT teens, click here and scroll to the bottom of the article to see the list. Please take care of yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • John
      Sat, 07 Jan 2012 at 06:52

      Hi Judge Tom,
      Me and my brother have lives with our Aunt for over 10 years now. She has Physical and Legal Custoday of us. Neither of our biological parents have much interest in us.our Father has NO CONTACT for over 6+ years. Our Mother keeps in touch at her convenience(usually holidays). She will talk to my Mom(my AUnt) about other situations, when she calls, but not us. Can me and my brother get a “DIVORCE” from our parents and have our Aunt (MOM) adopt us. We have wanted this for a long time and when we tried about a year ago, they ripped up the paperwork and sent back nasty letters to the Judge. What are our rights. We need your Help.PLEASE!! Now our father wants weekend visits and when I saw him 2 weekends ago, I physically got sick and had to vomit! It brought back all the abuse, mental and physical, etc. Please help me and my brother with some solid advice or where we can turn to. My Aunt (MOM) will do anything for us, but she is also limited with finances since she is on disability, but she will get it from somewhere if she has to! Thank You for your help! John
      Dear John: Since your Aunt has physical and legal custody, your father cannot start having visitation with you unless and until he takes the matter back to court where a judge will have to decide what is in you and your brother’s best interests. Since you are older now, it’s more likely that the judge would want to hear from you about your thoughts and feelings, so you can explain how you do not want to start visiting your dad and talk about any abuse that occurred in the past. Talk to your Aunt about how you feel and let her know your concerns. She probably will be able to reassure you that everything is going to be okay. Terminating your mother and father’s parental rights can be a difficult thing to do. For more information about this process, you and your Aunt can try contacting Child Protective Services or legal aid. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Loni
      Thu, 19 Jan 2012 at 08:08

      Hi there, im a lot older than the people asking the same question here… Im 35 and i want nothing to do with my mother or father. Yes i can do it the old fashion way and stay my distance but it doesnt work..my mother goes around starting drama putting my name in things trying to use my daughter to be on her side,she’s in the systm for trying to hurt me while i was pregnant etc…my father well he was never in the picture and still isnt… I just want this woman and man out of my life off of my birth cert etc….can this be done…….
      Dear Loni: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you speak with a lawyer in your area about these issues. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Courtney
      Fri, 18 May 2012 at 02:34

      I am 16 and pregnant I live in a bad home with my mom and dad who are on meth really bad my house if falling apart and not a safe place for me or my un born baby. I want to get away from them before something really bad happens. I tryed call department of chrilden and familys and reported them but they really did nothing I am scared for me and my child and would like to move out of there house with out getting into trouble. I have a few places I can go where I know that I would be safe and that my baby would be safe. I have tryed getting them help and nothing works and I can not have my baby around METH heck I should not even be around it but I have tried getting out and it did not work I need help so bad and because Im only 16 people wont talk to me they just walk the other way and im scared my house is going to blow up because of the METH. HELP ME SOMEONE
      Dear Courtney: Your only option may be in calling the police and asking for a welfare check. They, along with Child Protective Services can investigate the home and remove you if you’re in danger. The fumes alone from a meth lab may be dangerous to your health and that of the baby’s. Otherwise, talk with a relative or close friend that you trust about helping you make new living arrangements, at least until the baby is born. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sharee
      Sat, 16 Jun 2012 at 08:17

      Dear Judge,
      I’m 14 (15 in August)and I live in Texas. My mom has recently divorced my step father. My mom left May 16th to go to Oregon to stay with her fiance`. We don’t know when she’ll be back. She has left my dad (who just got back from Pennsylvania after an absence of 6 years) in charge of me and my older sister. My dad and his wife hate my mom, and vise versa with my mom and her fiance. My dad wants to get custody of me. I know my mom will fight for me and my sister, but frankly I don’t want to live with her. But I don’t want to live with my dad and his wife either. Like I told you, my parents and their spouses hate eachother. If I lived with my mom and her fiance, I could never even talk about my dad without a cuss word flying around. With my dad and stepmom, I can’t say my mom’s name without a whole fight breaking out. Recently, my dad has been drinking alot and it’s scaring me. He’s really mad that my mom left me and my sister and my 2 younger siblings. He’s been verbally abusive to me about her. I can’t take any more of it. I’ve desided to move in with the only people who care about me. My grandparents. I don’t want to divorce my parents, but knowing my mom and dad, they won’t give up easily. My grandparents are supportive of this desision. They belive that my mother has abandoned me and my father is an alcoholic and verbally abusive. I need advice.
      Thank You
      Dear Sharee: We’re very sorry to hear about your situation. Ultimately, when a court is considering a custody matter, the judge must decides what is in a kid’s best interests. First, you and your grandparents may want to consider trying to sit down with your parents and calmly explain how you feel and how you would like to live with your grandparents. If they understand your feelings and how their behavior is affecting you, they may consider letting you live with your grandparents. If your parents go back to court over the custody of you and your siblings, you may have a chance to talk to the judge and let him/her know how you feel and who you want to live with. Be honest and express your true feelings. Take care of yourself and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sharee
      Sat, 16 Jun 2012 at 08:35

      //in addition to my earlier post. My stepmom has mental issues. and ever since my mom has been engaged (since november) she’s been constantly on the phone with her fiance. She never lets go of it. I’ve had to take care of my younger sister and brother. My 16 year old sister has been pretty absorbed with her friends and relationships that change frequently. I feel like I’ve become a mom. My father has been looking for houses near is work, but the school that I’d be going to is dangerous. Kids have been killed there. And I have plans for my future. I won’t get the education I want for the job that I want. the school that I’d be going to at my grandparents has lots of college scholoships. It’s a really great school. My grandparents are willing to take care of me. the house that ive been living in is in foreclosure. My mom hasn’t used the child support that both fathers (my ex-step dad and my dad) have been paying her to pay the bills. My dad doesn’t consider my feelings. Like i said before, emmancipating myself from them is strictly last resort, but I need advice.
      Dear Sharee: As for becoming emancipated, not all states have emancipation laws. The states that do have emancipation laws usually make it somewhat difficult for a minor to become emancipated. For example, the minor has to show the court that they are financially independent and able to pay all of their own bills including rent, utilities, groceries, etc. Click here to find out whether your state has an emancipation law. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ally
      Wed, 27 Jun 2012 at 11:59

      i was wondering id i could divorce my mother. my mother has full custoudy of me and my little sister, my little sister is a diebetic and my mother does take very good care of her, but me on the other hand she could care less. she use to be my best friend and i could tell her everything, but now that im older i just cant trust her.. i tell her not to tell anyone in the family and she goes off and tells the whhole family when its persoal. she barly tells me she loves me. i found out that she had been smoking weed.. it really does bother me alot and i dont want to deal with that because i delt with it with my dad. my dad has stopped doing everything so he could keep me and my sister safe. my dad doesnt have any cousty of me or my sister. i also found other things that i would rather not say.. she yells and cusses at me all the time, she tells my that my boyfriend and his family is a peice of CRAP. And that they will hurt me, his family has helped me out more then my “mother” they now take me to church and things. i dont think my mother understands how much she hurts me i try explaing it to her but she DOESNT listen she just says well your fine whatever. so i need help. i dont want to live with my “mother”. i hate being treated this way. the fact that i dont do anything right or good enough for her. could you please help me out..
      Dear Ally: First, you would need to check if your state has an emancipation law which legally allows you to be free of your mother and able to make decisions. Click here to see whether your state has an emancipation law. Keep in mind that it’s difficult to get a judge to grant emancipation status to a minor as you have to show that you’re able to live independently and pay your own bills. Perhaps you could try talking to your Mom – tell her you have something very important to discuss with her and take the time to tell her how you feel (maybe even write a letter to her). If she agrees to let you live with your father or another relative, then it may not be a problem. However, if she has custody through the court, then she and your father would have to go back to court to get the custody orders modified giving your Dad custody if they both agree to this. Finally, if you feel that you or your sister’s safety is at risk, you can call the police and ask for a welfare check or Child Protective Services (1-800-422-4453). Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tyler
      Sat, 28 Jul 2012 at 07:37

      I live with my father but do not want to I will be 15 in October. I want to live with my mother how do I do this myself being that my father wont let me? Can I divorce him… Oh Im in Florida
      Dear Tyler: The straight answer is no, you can’t divorce your father. Parent’s rights are terminated by court order only when strong evidence exist that the parent is severely abusing, neglecting or has abandoned the child. Every state has laws about the termination of parental rights. It would be best to discuss this with your parents and why you feel the way you do. Since you have a few years before becoming an adult at 18, try to work things out or bring in a counselor or someone you trust to help out. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • joshua
      Thu, 13 Sep 2012 at 06:12

      Hi growing up my father was never around and then he went to war and when he came back i never lived with him or my mother i was at my grand parents house. however when he came back from war he decided to move to fl. at first it was all ok but soon after he became and alcoholic and was abusive to my mother and he was never around. after years of this he straighten up went to rehab for 3 years and came back by the time i was around 10-12… when he did he tried to bond with me but i never felt love he wound never say he loved me or anything like that and as i grown older he has becomed abusive to the point of severely punching me and hitting me. My mother really does not do much sense she can …. i will be turning 17 soon in december and i was wandering if i could get a divorce from my parents. i have had a grifrind for over two years now and her parent said they will be more than willing to take me in …. i was wandering if theres anyway that this could be possible that the court would give her parents custody of me… (btw shes 18) and i am turning 17 …. i also live in fl plz help …. ???? i dont know how much longer i keen keep putting up with my father …
      Dear Joshua: We’re sorry to hear about your circumstances. In order to be free from your parents, you would need to look into your state’s emancipation law. It’s not easy to become emancipated as you have to show the court that your are financially independent and able to support yourself. Also, the court will want to know whether or not your parent’s consent to your request for independent status. Click here for more information about the law and requirements for requesting emancipation in your state. However, if your parents agree to letting you live with your girlfriend and her parents, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Your parents would want to sign a power of attorney so that your girlfriend’s parents can make important medical decisions on your behalf in case of an emergency. If you are in danger of being abused, please talk to an adult you trust – perhaps your girlfriend’s parents or another relative and let them know what is going on. You can also call Child Protective Services and make a report at 1-800-422-4453. Please take care of yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ammy
      Mon, 01 Oct 2012 at 07:19

      Hello, I’m 16 Years Old And My Parents Are Divorced, I Live With My Mom, My Sister, And My Brother In San Antonio, I’m A Good Student, I Help My Mom On Cleaninqq The House, Raisinq My Sister And Brother, And Helpinqq Her Pay Rent And Bills. (I Work) I Love Both Of My Parents Very Much, But My Mom Makes Me Do Everythinq Such As Cook, Clean, And EVERYTHING. I’m Tired Of It Its Not Fair That I Do Everythinqq And She Does Nothinqq She Also Is Startinqq To Decide For Mi, And I Stronqly Disaqree With That. I Would Like To Live By My Self And I Don’t Need Neither Of My Parents, Can I Do That.?
      Dear Ammy: Emancipation is not an easy status to obtain from a court. Take a look at this website for information about the process in Texas:
      http://minors.uslegal.com/emancipation/texas-emancipation-of-minor-law/
      It is easier if your parents agree to you living independently. Otherwise you have to prove to the court that you’re financially independent and can make adult decisions about all aspects of your life. It might be better to sit down with your Mom and discuss what’s going on and how you feel about things at home. Hopefully you can reach an agreement that’s acceptable to both of you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kyra
      Sun, 09 Dec 2012 at 05:57

      Hi, I’m 14 years old (will be 15 in August) and live in Indiana. My parents are getting divorced and I can’t stand the thought of living with either one without the other. Both my parents are heavy drinkers and I know my parents well enough to know that without each other they both would be a wreck. My mom would become depressed and fail as a parent, and my dad would be angry all the time and just drink that much more. My question is that if I have a good, willing family to take me in until I become legal age (That both my parents like very much) could I stay with them with the concent of at least one parent?
      -Thank you, God Bless.
      Dear Kyra: We’re very sorry to hear about your situation. You are correct that you are going to need your parents’ consent in order to live with another relative. Whether or not you will need both parents’ consent will depend on a number of factors including the custody arrangements that are made between your parents or the court if your parents cannot work out an agreement on their own. If both parents have custody, then chances are that they will both need to consent. Perhaps you could try sitting down with them and having a heart to heart or even write them a letter if it’s too hard to confront them in person. Let them know how you feel and why you think it would be best to live with this other family member. They may be willing to let you live there or they may realize how their behavior is negatively affecting you and make an effort to change. Finally, take a look at our recent interview with teen behavior specialist Josh Shipp and watch the video at the end about improving your relationship with your parents. It’s pretty powerful. We wish you all the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • ryan leonardo pereira
      Thu, 03 Jan 2013 at 05:40

      minha mae me faz arrumar todo a casa incerar o chao e so tenho 8 anoss queria ir morar na casa de meu pai mas ele nao pode pagar a viagen e nen minha mae
      Dear Ryan: Unfortunately, we’re not able to fully understand your question. However, it appears that you want to live with your father. We suggest you try talking to your mother and being honest about your thoughts and feelings. If she realizes how you truly feel, she might be willing to compromise in order to make you happy. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • annmariebouchet
      Sun, 17 Feb 2013 at 04:24

      i am 10 years old and my dad has custody of my sister and i. i want to know if i am able to divorce my mother is a druggie and heavy drinker and that is all she cares about . then she was hit by a car and when her and my dad divorced she gave up her rights to visit on the days that were giving to her when we were taken from her please tell me how old do i have to be . thank you megan
      Dear Megan: We’re sorry to hear about your mom’s problems and how they affect you. At your age, there’s little you can do about visits except to explain to your dad how you feel. He may be able to get a change in the schedule or even stop them until she cleans up and is drug and alcohol free. Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Tell your dad or another adult you trust. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kaylee
      Fri, 31 Jan 2014 at 05:43

      Hi, I am a 15 year old girl, about to be 16 in March.
      Were do I begin? When I was about 7 years old my mother left the man that I thought was my father, it was a very difficult and stressful time for me. I was younger and had no clue what was happening. A few months later my mother, started seeing someone. At first I liked him, but then he started bossing me around, sending me to my room, yelling at me. My mother told me to behave, so I did. He is in the army, and is pretty controlling. Over the years he has become someone else, more mean. He has three kids of his own and just recently got custody of all of them. If his kids and I ever argued or fought, I would be sent to my grandmothers house while his kids, his-self and my mother had fun. We are all older now and it has gotten worse, my mothers husband gets in our face and yells, he pushes us up agains walls, he throws tantrums when he gets angry, punches walls, throws glass cups on the tile floor. Worst part of all, is through all of this I have completely lost my mother. I don’t know how much more I can handle?? I want to divorce them, but I need help doing so. Their is much more to this story.
      Dear Kaylee: We’re very sorry to hear about your circumstances. First, you’ll want to find out if your state has an emancipation law as not all states do. Becoming emancipated or legally free from your parents is not an easy thing to do as you have to show the court that you are able to live independently and take care of all of your finances. We strongly suggest you try talking to your Mom about how you feel. She may surprise you and be willing to hear you out and make some changes to improve your home life. If you feel that you can’t talk to your Mom, please talk to another adult you trust whether it’s a relative, a friend’s parent, teacher or school counselor. If there is any abuse going on at your house, it needs to be reported. You can make a report even anonymously by contacting the national Child Protective Services hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Please take care of yourself and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Dennis Rainey
      Wed, 12 Feb 2014 at 05:31

      Hi I’m in the military,my name is Dennis Rainey.
      I met my wife seven years ago and wasn’t planning on staying with her. She came up to me to pick me up for her cousin and ended up keeping me for herself. After about two months she came to me and said she was pregnant so naturally I wasn’t going to let her go with no help so I purposed to her. Everything was going good until two days before the wedding when she told me that she had three kids and they were all living with her dad whom I’d never met! Well being the guy I am I still married her and took the kids in as my own. After about a year and a half I left on a mission for a month and things got weird with her while I was gone. Come to find out she was cheating on me with another soldier. If this wasn’t bad enough she had him living at the house while I was gone and got pregnant with his child. Me being the nice guy I forgave her for it. (BIG MISTAKE) About six months after that I left for a one year rotation in Korea. Come to find out when I left she moved him back in to my house with her and carried on her affair with him while I was gone. I didn’t learn of this until I was deployed to Iraq and she moved him in again while I was gone and I caught her with him in the house. When I came home for R and R for eighteen days I found out all her dirty little secrets of the two of them getting busy through pictures I found on the computer and the home movie that I found on the kids karaoke/video machine. As well as getting the 30k worth of bills that she went out and racked up in my name with her power of attorney. When I was going through the pics on the home PC the two youngest kids saw the pics of the guy and came screaming over yelling look its daddy! I tried to forgive her for the crap she has done to me and her kids and made it work for two more years but I just can’t go on with it. So needless to say 5 kids by 5 different fathers mine being the second to the last and a wife that can’t keep her legs closed to anyone but me equals a much justified and needed DIVORCE! so i took a lawyer but didn’t work out.
      i went to the internet and i saw a testimony of a spell caster that helps in divorce i contact him and a week after she told me she don’t want me anymore that she need divorce, am happy know with my new wife and she is so lovely.

      Thanks for reading my trials of life.

      We wish you the best, Dennis. You deserve it!

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