Legal Question in Family Law in Missouri

Can a 16 year old legally leave home?

I know a 16 year old girl, she will be 17 in may, who wants to run away from home. I have offered my home to her as she is friends with my 16 year old daughter. Can she legally come live with me even if her parents disbute her leaving? She has a job and a 3.5 gpa in high school. She is willing to pay rent to me for her room and board. Please let me know what this young girl can do. Thank you.

Asked on 3/09/01, 12:19 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael R. Nack Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law

Re: Can a 16 year old legally leave home?

It is my understanding that a sixteen year old as you describe is not "emancipated" but is still in the custody of her parents. If she leaves home without their permission, they may involve the authorities and the teenager will come within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Some teenagers do become "emancipated" under the law in various situations such as when they get married for example. Also, if the parents would consider allowing the teenager to reside with you, they could sign a specific Power of Attorney under the statute that allows parents to authorize a third person(s) to take custody of a child. The Power of Attorney would be effective for up to one year and could be renewed. A more specific response would require a modest amount of legal research, and you should consider this post as a general response only, not specific legal advise. I would be willing to give you a free telephone consultation if you desire. Feel free to call me at 314-727-2822.

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Answered on 5/19/01, 1:11 am

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