There are many financial situations that would warrant a minor to seek emancipation from their parents. Existing child law was put into effect in order to protect the rights and the well-being of minors. However, there are weaknesses that are evident with many child laws.
In the United States, child laws grant parents the power to have access to their child’s monetary funds, as well as control over their savings. In many cases, child laws do nothing to stop parents from taking advantage of this access in order to steal money from their children. They will take what their child earns and spend it on themselves. The minor may not have any knowledge that their parent or guardian is spending their money until the money is already gone. This is a very unfortunate situation that happens often to child stars.
Talented children may earn millions by pursuing a career in acting, singing or modeling. The child’s parents may believe that they have a right to spend the money that their child earns, as the minor would not be where they are without the assistance of their parents. Child law does not protect a minor’s finances from such occurrences.
Such was the case with Jackie Coogan, who played Uncle Fester in the television show The Addams Family. He made millions as a child actor, but he never received any of the money that he earned because his parents spent it all. Child star Macauley Culkin experienced a similar situation, in which his parents stole all of the money that he earned. However, he fought to win back what was rightfully his.
As a result of incidents similar to these, California created a new child law, The Coogan Law, in which a portion a child star’s earnings are to be put away in a special savings account. Unfortunately, not everyone is a child star and the Coogan Law does not apply to common minors. A minor who wishes to protect their financial funds from their parents may seek a complete emancipation as an alternative.
In many situations, a minor will choose to become emancipated from their parents in order to become financially independent. Child laws regarding emancipation will allow an emancipated minor to have control over their own finances and will not allow parents or guardians to have access to the child’s monetary funds.
If a child has acquired a large amount of money, be it through inheritance or by making a living in professions such as singing, acting or modeling, the child may choose to be emancipated. This may be in order to protect their finances or because they are able to provide financial support for themselves and want to have control of their own lives.
Child laws give an emancipated minor all of the rights of an adult. Therefore, due to existing child laws an emancipated minor has the right to enter into a binding contract, such a signing a lease. Child law also grants an emancipated minor the ability to own a house or to buy and sell property. A child may seek emancipation in order to obtain these rights, should they be financially situated to buy a house or rent an apartment.
Many individuals who reach the age of majority and wish to attend school are still required to be claimed as dependents by their parents when they are applying for financial aid. Due to the income of their parents, many students are unable to receive financial aid, even if their parents are not helping to pay the tuition.
Many students will seek an emancipation to receive larger student loans. This is not usually helpful because if the student is eighteen years old, then they are most likely already emancipated, though this is dependent on the State. An emancipated student can still be claimed as a dependent of their parents, and therefore, emancipation may not help them to receive financial aid.