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Can a Seventeen-Year-Old Leave Home?

This legal research guide provides information about Texas law regarding juveniles and the age of majority.

Who is considered an adult?

Texas law considers residents who are 18 years old or older as adults.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Can a minor be considered an adult?

In some cases, a minor can ask the court to be recognized as an adult. This process is called "emancipation," "emancipation of minors," or "removal of the disabilities of minority." 

Emancipated minors no longer need a parent's permission to do certain things like:

  • enter into contracts;
  • rent an apartment;
  • open a bank account;
  • enroll in school;
  • make medical decisions;
  • make other legal decisions that could previously only be made by a parent. 

To apply for emancipation, the minor must be:

  • a Texas resident;
  • 17 years old;
  • 16 years old and living separately from the parents;
  • self-supporting and managing their own affairs. 

The court will review the application, examine evidence, and hold a hearing to determine if emancipation is in the best interest of the minor.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

If a 17-year-old moves out, are they a "runaway"?

The law on this topic is complex. We cannot give you a definitive answer, but the resources below provide some general information. 

Texas Attorney General Opinions

Understanding the Law

E-Books from the Texas State Law Library

You can borrow the e-books below with your library account. Don't have a library account? Texas residents can register for a library account online! Learn more about how to register online.

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