Emancipation process approved for minors

The Legislature passed a bill April 11 that allows certain minors to seek legal independence.

Sen. Sara Howard
Sen. Sara Howard

LB714, introduced by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard, allows minors at least 16 years old to seek emancipation from their parents or guardians.

After a motion to grant emancipation is filed and the individual’s parents or guardians have been notified, a judge would determine whether or not the minor possesses the maturity and knowledge to sufficiently manage his or her affairs and finances.

The court will hold an initial hearing on the petition no sooner than 45 days after the petition is filed and no later than 60 days of filing. The petitioner will be required to notify his or her parent, legal guardian or nearest known relative residing in Nebraska of the hearing at least 30 days before the hearing date.

A parent or legal guardian can file an objection to the petition for emancipation within 30 days of receiving notice of the hearing.

If emancipation is granted, the minor legally is allowed to incur debt, sign contracts, acquire property, file litigation, consent to medical services, enroll in any school or college and establish his or her own residence.

Emancipation status will not affect a minor’s status in any juvenile court proceedings.

Any person can file a motion to void an emancipation decision if the minor becomes indigent or unable to financially support themselves or if the emancipation is obtained through fraud, misrepresentation or the withholding of relevant information.

Likewise, a minor can file a written objection in response to any such petition to rescind an emancipation order.

Finally, the bill clarifies that in the event an emancipation order is rescinded, the parents or legal guardian are not legally liable for any debts incurred by the minor during the period of emancipation.

The bill passed on a 45-1 vote.

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