Divorcing Your Parents (Emancipation)

Divorcing Your Parents (Emancipation)

On August 12, 2005 a law was passed that allows minors to divorce their parents, more formally called emancipation. The law can be found at (A.R.S. §§ 12-2451) through 12-2456. However, emancipation is a very difficult process that few are eligible for. Youth can be emancipated if they meet the following criteria:

  • At least 16
  • An Arizona resident
  • Financially self-sufficient
  • Acknowledges in writing that they have read and understand the rights and obligations of emancipation
  • The Glossary Link minor is not ward of the court or in the state's custody

Minor (a person under the age of 18) must demonstrate to the court the ability to:

  • Manage financial, personal and social affairs
  • Live wholly independent of parent or guardian
  • Obtain or maintain health care, education, training or employment

Documentation - The minor must provide at least one (1) of the following:

  • Documentation of the minor's independent living for at least three consecutive months
  • Statement explaining why the minor believes the home of the parent or legal guardian is unsafe
  • A notarized statement of written consent from the parent or guardian in addition to an explanation by the parent or guardian

Court Process

  • The court has up to 90 days to hear the emancipation request
  • Minor may represent themself or be represented by an attorney
  • The court may appoint a  Glossary Link lawyer for the minor
  • At least 2 months before the hearing, the court must notify the minor's parents
  • The parents have up to 30 days to object to the emancipation
  • The parents may request mediation or the court may order mediation

Basis for Court decision

  • Potential risks and consequences of emancipation
  • The wishes of the minor
  • Opinions and recommendations of the minor's parents or guardian
  • Financial resources of the minor and the minor's ability to be financially self-sufficient
  • The employment, education and criminal history of the minor

Rights of Emancipated Minors - An emancipated minor is entitled to:

  • Enter a contract
  • Sue and be sued
  • Buy and sell real property
  • Establish legal residence
  • Pay child support
  • Incur debts
  • Apply for social services
  • Obtain a job-related license
  • Apply for school
  • Apply for loans
  • Access medical treatment and records
  • Consent to medical treatment
  • A driver's license or non-operating license with the words: Emancipated Minor


Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated. The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.