Legal Question in Family Law in Arizona

ward of the state, male, 16 yrs. old, pregnant 15 yr. old girlfriend

A friend of mine is having problems understanding the law regarding her 16 yr. old son. He was made a ward of the state in 1995 through severance and adoption. His 15 yr/ old girlfriend is now pregnant and he is currently listed as a runaway from his foster home/Durango. Will he be subject to arrest/confinement from the authorities for being a runaway? He is being responsible as a father to his girlfriend and is trying to help her out in any way he can. She stays in the hospital 24 hrs. a day and will do so until she delivers. Due date Jan. 28, 2002. Are there any emancipation laws which can free him from the status of Ward of the State due to these current changes? This we hope will allow him to be solely responsible for his livelihood and support and no longer a Ward of the State?

Any information you can give will be greatly appreciated.

Thank-You Ken

Asked on 10/11/01, 1:49 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Re: ward of the state, male, 16 yrs. old, pregnant 15 yr. old girlfriend

Your son is allowed to file for emancipation, based upon his circumstances. Under Arizona law, the term "emancipation" means the freeing of a child from the care, custody and control of the parents (or the state, in this case) and from obligations to render services to them. It results not from the conduct of the child, but from the intention of the State. Intent or intention to emancipate a child may be implied from the conduct of the State. Emancipation cannot be accomplished by the acts of a child alone, but rather a product primarily of the act or omission of the State.

Thus, if the emancipation petition were contested by the State, with the allegation that he is a runaway, it would be very hard to have such granted.

Please call me directly to discuss any further questions.

/s/ Rich J. Peters, Attorney


1422 N. 2nd Street, Suite 100

Phoenix, Arizona 85004


602.254-1229 (facsimile)

see our web page at

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Answered on 11/26/01, 4:19 pm

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