How can minors be emancipated in Nevada?

Most minors in Nevada ... which are children younger than 18 ... are under the care of a parent or legal guardian. Parents or guardians typically have the legal authority to make significant decisions on behalf of their child. These can include what schools the child attends and what medical care the child receives.

However, a minor seeking to terminate the parent–child or guardian–child dynamic may petition a Nevada court for a decree of emancipation. If the emancipation decree is granted, the child will be treated as if he/she were legally an adult. Emancipation may allow a minor to enter into contracts, acquire debts, and make important life decisions as an adult would.

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How does a child become emancipated in Nevada?

The minor typically must petition the juvenile court for a decree of emancipation. The petition should be filed in the juvenile court in the Nevada county where the minor seeking emancipation resides.

Who can petition a Nevada court for a decree of emancipation?

In Nevada, any minor may petition the court for a decree of emancipation so long as the minor is:

  • at least 16 years of age;

  • is married or living apart from his/her parents or legal guardian; and

  • is a resident of the county in which he/she is petitioning.

What information does the petition for emancipation need to contain in Nevada?

The petition must be in writing and must include very specific financial and personal information about the minor. Some of the personal information required by the petition includes:

  • The minor's name, age, and address;

  • The names and addresses of the minor's parents;

  • The name and address of any legal guardian;

  • Or, if no parent or guardian can be found, the name and address of the nearest known relative in the state of Nevada.

The petition must also include:

  • Facts relating to the minor's education, employment, and how long the minor has lived apart from the parents or guardian;

  • That the minor lives apart from his/her parents or guardian with the consent or acquiescence of the parents or guardian;

  • That the minor manages his/her own finances;

  • The minor's income is not derived from any criminal activity; and

  • The minor is attending school, or is legally excused from attending school.

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Who determines whether the petition for emancipation will be granted in Nevada?

The Nevada  court ultimately decides whether a minor will be emancipated. Once the petition for emancipation is filed, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the petition should be granted. The court will take the following factors into account when determining whether to grant the petition:

  • Whether the parents or guardian consent to the emancipation;

  • Whether the minor will be able to provide for him/herself financially;

  • Whether the minor is mature and knowledgeable enough to manage his/her own affairs without parental assistance.

  • Whether emancipation is in the best interest of the minor.

What happens once a child has been emancipated in Nevada?

Once a Nevada juvenile court grants a minor's decree of emancipation, that minor will be treated for all intents and purposes as if he/she were an adult in the eyes of the law. Emancipation allows a minor to engage in the following activities as if he/she were legally an adult:

  • Incurring debts or contractual obligations;

  • Litigating or settling any legal disputes;

  • Buying or selling property;

  • Consenting to medical, dental, or psychiatric care without parental consent or knowledge;

  • Enrolling in any school or college;

  • Establishing any residence.

Any obligation or debt an emancipated minor may acquire is enforceable by and against the minor as if he/she were an adult.

Does an emancipated minor have every right an adult does in Nevada?

No. Emancipated minors in Nevada may not drink alcohol or gamble until they reach 21 years of age.

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Is an emancipation decree permanent in Nevada?

Once a decree of emancipation has been entered, any person or public agency may file a petition to void the decree of emancipation on the following grounds:

  • The minor becomes indigent and does not have sufficient income to support himself; or

  • The minor obtained the decree of emancipation by fraud or by misrepresenting or withholding material information.

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