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State of Vermont Judiciary
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State of Vermont Judiciary
This Site: Probate Court
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Frequently Asked Questions
Adult and Minor Guardianship
Changing a Name
Correction of Death and Marriage Records
Estates and Wills
Vermont Probate Division
Emancipation and Miscellaneous Forms
To file (start) a case you must complete the forms packet with an * next to the form name.
*Forms to Initiate Emancipation Process
Acceptance of Service
ADA Request Customer
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Emancipation Petition and Instructions
Jury Service in Vermont Courts FAQ's (Trying Times)
Transcript Order Form
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you required to give the names and address of parents of custodians if known?
The law requires that you list the name and address of your parents if known. If the address of your parent(s) is unknown, please attach a separate sheet of paper and explain all the steps you have taken to try to locate a good address. The law requires that notice of the hearing on the emancipation be given to your parents and to any other person or agency who has custody or guardianship of your person. If a petition is pending concerning your custody, such as a petition for delinquency, unmanageability, or neglect in any Court, you must list the name of the Court and the kind of petition that has been filed.
Does emancipation mean the minor can do all the things adults can do?
No. Any legal requirement that has and age specific restrictions (drinking age, voting age, etc.) are still effective to limit the actions of the emancipated minor. On the other hand, the minor may make contracts (rental leases, etc.) as any adult.
How does a child become emancipated?
The Probate Court may grant a decree of emancipation after notice to the parents and a hearing. To file a petition for emancipation, contact the Probate Court or go to the form link on the emancipation web page to get an emancipation petition and instruction sheet.
How long do you need to be a Resident of Vermont in order to petition for Emancipation?
To petition for Emancipation the minor must be a resident of the State of Vermont for a period of at least three (3) months.
Is there any requirements in order to be emancipated?
Before the Court can make an order of emancipation it must determine that (a) you are at least 16 years old; (b) that you have lived separate from your parents, custodian, or legal guardian for three months or longer; (c) that you are managing you own financial affairs; (d) that you have demonstrated the ability to be self-sufficient in your financial affairs including proof of employment or other support ("Other support" does not include general assistance, ANFC benefits, or relying upon the financial resources of a person receiving assistance or aid); (e) that you either hold a high school diploma or that you are earning a passing grade in an educational program approved by the Court and directed toward the earning of a high school diploma or its equivalent; (f) that you are not under legal guardianship or in the custody of the Commissioner of Social and Rehabilitation Services or the Commissioner of Corrections; (g) that your emancipation is in your best interests considering such factors as whether you will be able to assume adult responsibilities, your adjustment to being on your own, the opinion of your parents, custodian or guardian, and whether the emancipation will create a risk of harm to you. You may address these factors in your petition and at the hearing. The criteria for becoming an emancipated minor are located at 12 V.S.A. § 7151(b).
What are the disadvantages to emancipation?
Becoming emancipated is like turning 18. You are considered an adult who is responsible for your own care, support, liabilities, and contractual obligations. While still an unemancipated minor you are protected from certain legal actions against you, such as enforcement of contracts. Also, as an unemancipated minor others are responsible for your care and support. Once you become emancipated these protections disappear. Emancipation may affect the tax status that the minor may have as being a "dependant" of another and emancipation may also affect the residency of the minor for school purposes.
What are the legal prerequisites to emancipation?
In order for the Court to approve a petition for emancipation the Court must be convinced that the minor: (1) is sixteen years or older but still under the age of majority; (2) has lived separately from the parents or guardian for at least three months; (3) is not receiving government assistance; (4) is financially and personally self sufficient; (5) is working toward or already possessing a high school degree or equivalent; (6) is not under legal guardianship or in the legal custody of the commissioner of social and rehabilitative services; (7) is not under the supervision or in the custody of the commissioner of corrections. 12 VSA § 7151(b)
What are the reasons that people become emancipated?
People have many different reasons for becoming emancipated. Some choose emancipation because they no longer have contact with their parents and feel that they are capable of living on their own. Others become emancipated because they are working and want the freedom to enter into their own contracts and manage their own money. However, emancipation is a major legal step and should be entered into only after serious consideration and examination of alternatives.
What do I need to do to start the emancipation process?
Please download a copy of the Emancipation Petition from the above link. Forms are also available in the Probate Court Clerk’s Office during the Court’s normal hours of operation.
The form must be completed, signed and notarized. Documentation of the evidence detailed in Requirements for Emancipation should be included with the petition. These can include but are not limited to: a copy of your high school diploma or GED certificate, school records, proof of employment, proof of residence, proof of approved source of income, and any other documentation that you feel will fulfill the evidence requirements.
Petition can be filed at the Probate Court in the Court Clerk’s Office during the Court’s normal hours of operation. There is no fee for filing a Petition for Emancipation. Please keep a copy of the Petition for your records.
What does it mean to be "emancipated"?
Until a minor becomes an adult at age 18, he or she is legally "incapable" of making contracts, or taking other legal actions. A minor is legally subject to the control of his or her parents. Emancipation changes this limitation and allows the child to make contracts and live independently of the control of parents.
What is the Vermont Statute for Emancipation?
The Vermont Statute is 12 VSA Sec. 7151-7159 at
Vermont Statutes Online
Who is responsible to prove that I am eligible to be emancipated?
The burden is upon you to prove that you are eligible for an Order of Emancipation. If you fail to provide adequate evidence (testimony or documentary) by the conclusion of the hearing, the Court must deny your petition. At the hearing you may present witnesses who are familiar with your circumstances.