Emancipation is a legal process that is enforced by the court. Either you, the child, or your parent may petition the court for your emancipation. Once emancipated, you will be able to sign contracts, apply for college and file for financial aid without your parents' permission. For financial aid purposes, you will be eligible to be viewed as independent, and therefore not require to enter your parents' financial information.
Be the required age before petitioning the court for emancipation. This age varies per state. For example, in Connecticut you must be 16, in California, 14. In addition, you must meet one of the following conditions: be married, a service member in the U.S. armed forces, living apart from your parents or a court has decided that living with your parents is not in your best interest.
Go to the county court's juvenile division. Request a "petition for emancipation," and "minor income and expense declaration" form from the court clerk. These forms may also be available on the court's website.
Complete the petition. Enter your full name, address, your age and your parents' names and address. You must attest that you are of legal age for emancipation, living apart from your parents or legal guardian with their consent, managing your own financial affairs and not making income from criminal activity. You must declare whether or not your parents' consent to your emancipation, and if so, attach their written consent to the petition. You can also state why that parent shouldn't receive notice of your emancipation. Sign the petition.
Complete the income and expense declaration. Enter your name, address and date of birth into the corresponding fields. Indicate whether or not you're attending school, your current occupation or job and place of employment. If not employed, indicate that, also indicate if you're receiving, not receiving or plan to apply for welfare or other financial assistance. Enter your gross monthly wage and salary earnings, and indicate money received from other sources, such as your parents or family members. Write the value of any asset such as total in bank accounts, the total amount you have in cash or value of your vehicle. Also, include your expenses -- rent, food, clothing, utilities bills and car payments and insurance. Date and sign the form.
Write a statement indicating why you want to be emancipated, where and how you currently live, how you currently support yourself, and if you have children, how you support them. Income from a job or state assistance are both acceptable answers.
Submit the petition for emancipation, income and expense form and written statement to the court clerk. Once the petition is filed, you will need to wait for the petition to be accepted, rejected or a notice issued for you to appear in court. If the judge accepts your petition without a hearing, a declaration of emancipation will be issued and sent to you in the mail. If asked to appear in court, show up on your hearing date and answer all questions to help the judge assess your situation and ability to take care of yourself.
File the "declaration of emancipation" with the court clerk. Keep copies of the declaration in a safe place. You will need them to apply for financial aid.
Apply for Financial Aid After Emancipation
Go to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website and complete an application for financial aid. Click "start here" to begin the application process.
Enter your personal information. You will need to enter your name, Social Security number, birth date and contact information. Also, enter a password for your account. Indicate your marital status, whether or not you're a U.S. citizen, whether you will have completed high school by the next school year, what degree type you'll be working on, highest grade completed by your parents, and the name and location of your high school.
Enter the school code, or select the option to search and select the schools you're interested in attending. You can enter up to 10 schools on the FAFSA. All schools indicated will receive a copy of the FAFSA, which will allow them to determine your financial aid.
Complete the "dependency determination" page. This page is where you will declare your emancipation status. Answer all of the questions -- are you married, do you have dependents which receive more than half of their support from you, currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, or a ward of the state. Select "yes" under the question, "Are determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you...an emancipated minor?" Enter the number of family members in your household, and how many of those will be in college (including yourself). Select "no" under the question, "Do you want to answer questions about your parents?" Click "next."
Enter your financial information. Select whether or not you've completed an IRS income tax return for the previous year. Enter your total earnings from the previous year from wages or a salary. If you receive any other support such as child support, indicate that when prompted.
Sign the FAFSA form. You can sign and file electronically with a PIN. Print the signature page and mail it or submit it.