I am asking this on behalf of a friend of mine. She is currently living with her mom and her step father, and feels she is being verbally and emotionally abused. She wants to move out but her concern is that, if she does, her step father will file a restraining order preventing her from taking her belongings with her; on the same side of the coin, she is worried she will be kicked out with the same results.
On the other hand, if she notifies the police of the situation, the local authorities would send someone out to her home, setting things into motion in the same manner.
What are her legal rights to leave without having her belongings destroyed, and can she do anything without making this into a bigger mess?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: home issues
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If she is over the age of majority which is 18, she has the right to leave the premises at anytime. If her stepfather will not let her remove her (note - that does mean the family's) belongings, she can ask the police to assist which they probably will. If he is violent, she can request a restraining or stay away order and the police will escort her to the residence and protect her while she removes her possessions.
If she is under 18, she does not have the right to just leave. This becomes a whole different matter then and she can be forced to live with her parents unless she becomes emancipated.
Scott R. Jay, Esq.