One common way in which children may be emancipated is by enlisting in the military. The military requires an individual to be seventeen years of age before they can enter into the armed forces. Children law mandates that any individual that is seventeen years old receive parental consent before they are able to enlist in the military.
In many states within the United States, the existing children laws recognize that if a minor of the age of seventeen receives parental consent and enters into the military, then this child is considered an adult, and is therefore emancipated. This is because when a minor enters the military the responsibility to provide for the child is shifted from the parents of the child to the Government.
However, it is not true that every State regards a seventeen year old who joins the armed forces to be emancipated. Each State has different children laws regarding the entrance of minors into the military, and often the status of the child as emancipated depends upon the specific situation.
In numerous states children law requires a parent to file a petition with the court if they wish to be relieved of their duty to provide support to the minor. This petition would be required even if the minor was to enlist in the military. Many states have found that under some circumstances entrance into the military does not constitute emancipation. Those states have developed children laws that are aimed at protecting the rights of minors who enter into the military and allowing them to receive continued support from their parents.
In many instances children laws will not recognize a minor as emancipated if they enter into the military reserves. Some courts have ruled that even though the military provides a minor with food and shelter while they are on active duty, this support does not continue. Many states have children laws that acknowledge that when a child returns home from active duty, they will need their parents to provide them with shelter, food, clothing, and other basic necessities that are necessary for survival.
Most children law deems that if a minor is unable to support themselves and requires assistance from their parents, then the minor is not emancipated. In some states existing children law does not recognize the enrollment of a minor in a military academy, such as West Point, as active duty.
Therefore, the minor is not considered to be emancipated. In instances such as this, the parents will be required to continue to provide the minor with support, as well as assist with any education expenses that may accrue. In many other states, the courts have decided that enrollment in a military academy is active duty, and therefore, the minor is recognized as emancipated.
Children law regarding military emancipation varies a great deal from State to State. Whether or not the child is considered to be emancipated will depend on how much support the minor continued to receive from their parents while they were enrolled in the military.