Arizona Emancipation of Minor Law

Minors – Emancipation of Minor – Arizona

12-2451. Petition for emancipation order; requirements; notification; representation; waiver of filing fees

A. A minor who wishes to be emancipated may file a petition for an emancipation order with the clerk of the court in the county in which the minor resides if all of the following apply:

1. The minor is at least sixteen years of age.
2. The minor is a resident of this state.
3. The minor is financially self-sufficient.
4. The minor acknowledges in writing that the minor has read and understands information that is provided by the court and that explains the rights and obligations of an emancipated minor and the potential risks and consequences of emancipation.
5. The minor is not a ward of the court and is not in the care, custody and control of a state agency.

B. A petition filed pursuant to this section must contain the following:

1. The petitioner’s name, mailing address, social security number and date of birth.
2. The name and mailing address of the petitioner’s parent or legal guardian if known.
3. Specific facts to support the petition, including:

(a) The minor’s demonstrated ability to manage the minor’s financial affairs including proof of employment or other means of support.
(b) The minor’s demonstrated ability to manage the minor’s personal and social affairs, including proof of housing.
(c) The minor’s demonstrated ability to live wholly independent of the minor’s parent.
(d) The minor’s demonstrated ability and commitment to obtain or maintain education, vocational training or employment.
(e) How the minor will obtain or maintain health care.
(f) Any other information considered necessary to support the petition.
(g) At least one of the following:

(i) Documentation that the minor has been living on the minor’s own for at least three consecutive months.
(ii) A statement explaining why the minor believes the home of the minor’s parent or legal guardian is not a healthy or safe environment.
(iii) A notarized statement that contains written consent to the emancipation and an explanation by the minor’s parent or legal guardian.

C. The court shall hold a hearing on the petition within ninety days after the date of its filing and shall notify the petitioner and the petitioner’s parent or legal guardian of the date and place of the hearing by certified mail at least sixty days before the hearing date. For good cause shown, the court may continue the initial emancipation hearing.

D. The minor’s parent or legal guardian may file a written response objecting to the emancipation within thirty days of service of the notice of the hearing.

E. The minor may participate in the court proceedings on the minor’s own behalf or be represented by an attorney chosen by the minor. If the court determines it necessary, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the petitioner.

F. The court may reduce or waive the fee prescribed in section 12-284 for filing a petition for emancipation of a minor for financial hardship.

12-2452. Additional court orders

A. Before an emancipation case proceeds, the court may stay the proceedings and:

1. Refer the parties to mediation.
2. If the court reasonably believes that the petition contains an allegation of child abuse or neglect, require the department of child safety to investigate the allegation and make a written report of the investigation to the court.

B. If the minor’s parent or legal guardian objects to the petition for emancipation, the court shall stay the proceeding and refer the parties to mediation or alternative dispute resolution unless the court reasonably believes that mediation would not be in the best interest of the minor. The court may consider any of the following:

1. The minor’s parent or legal guardian has been convicted of abuse, neglect or abandonment.
2. The minor’s parent or legal guardian is named as a perpetrator of abuse, neglect or abandonment in the protective services central registry pursuant to section 8-804.
3. Any other information the court deems relevant.

C. If agreement is reached through mediation, the parties shall submit the signed mediation agreement to the court.

12-2453. Factors; best interests of minor; burden of proof; emancipation orders; filing requirements

A. The court shall determine emancipation based on the best interests of the minor and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

1. The potential risks and consequences of emancipation and to what degree the minor understands these risks and consequences.
2. The wishes of the minor.
3. The opinions and recommendations of the minor’s parent or guardian.
4. The financial resources of the minor, including the minor’s employment history.
5. The minor’s ability to be financially self-sufficient.
6. The minor’s level of education and the minor’s success in school.
7. Whether the minor has a criminal record.

B. The minor has the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence.

C. The court shall file an emancipation order with the clerk of the court and issue a copy of the order to the minor and the department of economic security or its agent, if the minor is a child in a title IV-D case.

D. An emancipation order issued by a court pursuant to this article:

1. Is conclusive evidence that the minor is emancipated.
2. Terminates a dependency action as to the minor by operation of law.

12-2454. Effect of emancipation

A. An emancipation order issued pursuant to this article recognizes the minor as an adult for the following purposes:

1. The right to enter into a binding contract.
2. The ability to sue and be sued.
3. The right to buy and sell real property.
4. The right to establish a legal residence.
5. The obligation to pay child support.
6. The right to incur debts.
7. The right to access medical treatment and records.
8. The right to consent to medical, dental and psychiatric care without parental consent, knowledge or liability.
9. The right to consent to medical, dental and psychiatric care for the emancipated minor’s child.
10. Eligibility for social services.
11. The right to obtain a license to operate equipment or perform a service.
12. The right to apply for enrollment in any school or college.
13. The ability to apply for loans.

B. An emancipation order issued pursuant to this article terminates a parent’s or legal guardian’s:

1. Right to the emancipated minor’s income.
2. Future child support obligations relating to the emancipated minor.
3. Tort liability for the emancipated minor’s actions.
4. Obligation to financially support the emancipated minor after the first day of the month following entry of this order.
5. Obligation to provide medical support for the emancipated minor.

12-2455. Recognition of emancipation from another jurisdiction

This state shall recognize a minor as an emancipated minor if that minor can document emancipation from another jurisdiction of the United States and is at least sixteen years of age.

Title 25, Chap. 5, Art. 1, ยง25-503

A. In any proceeding in which there is at issue the support of a child, the court may order either or both parents to pay any amount necessary for the support of the child. If a personal check for support payments and handling fees is rightfully dishonored by the payor bank or other drawee, any subsequent support payments and handling fees shall be paid only by cash, money order, cashier’s check, traveler’s check or certified check. If a person required to pay support other than by personal check demonstrates full and timely payment for twenty-four consecutive months, that person shall be permitted to pay support by personal check as long as such payments are for the full amount, are timely tendered and are not rightfully dishonored by the payor bank or other drawee. On a showing of good cause, the court may order that the parent or parents required to make payments of support give reasonable security for these payments. If the court sets an appearance bond and the obligor fails to appear, the bond shall be forfeited and credited against any support owed by the person required to pay support. This subsection does not apply to payments that are made by means of a wage assignment.

B. On a showing that an income withholding order has been ineffective to secure the timely payment of support and that an amount equal to six months of current support has accrued, the court shall require the obligor to give security, post bond or give some other guarantee to secure overdue support.

C. In title IV-D cases, and in all other cases subject to an income withholding order issued on or after January 1, 1994, after notice to the party entitled to receive support, the department or its agent may direct the party obligated to pay support or other payor to make payment to the support payment clearinghouse. The department or its agent shall provide notice by first class mail.

D. The obligation for current child support shall be fully met before any payments under an order of assignment may be applied to the payment of arrearages. If a party is obligated to pay support for more than one family and the amount available is not sufficient to meet the total combined current support obligation, any monies shall be allocated to each family as follows:

1. The amount of current support ordered in each case shall be added to obtain the total support obligation.
2. The ordered amount in each case shall be divided by the total support obligation to obtain a percentage of the total amount due.
3. The amount available from the obligor’s income shall be multiplied by the percentage under paragraph 2 of this subsection to obtain the amount to be allocated to each family.

E. In a case where the court has ordered that support be paid directly to the custodial parent, if the payment is not received within ten days of the date in the court order for payment of support, the person receiving support may enforce the support order by all civil remedies provided by law.
F. Any order for child support may be modified or revoked upon a showing of changed circumstance which is substantial and continuing, except as to any amount that may have accrued as an arrearage prior to the date of the filing of the notice of the motion or order to show cause to modify or revoke. The addition of health insurance coverage as defined in section 25-531 or a change in the availability of health insurance coverage may constitute a continuing and substantial change in circumstance. The order of modification or revocation may be made retroactive to the date of the filing of the notice of motion or order to show cause to modify or to revoke or to any date subsequent to such filing. The order of modification or revocation may include an award of attorney fees and court costs to the prevailing party.
G. Notwithstanding subsection F of this section, in a title IV-D case a party, or the department or its agent if there is an assignment of rights under section 46-407, may request every three years that an order for child support be reviewed and, if appropriate, adjusted. The request may be made without a specific showing of a changed circumstance that is substantial and continuing. The department or its agent shall conduct the review in accordance with the child support guidelines of this state. If appropriate, the department shall file a petition in the superior court to adjust the support amount. Every three years the department or its agent shall notify the parties of their right to request a review of the order for support. The department or its agent shall notify the parties by first class mail at their last known address or by including the notice in an order.
H. If a party in a title IV-D case requests a review and adjustment sooner than three years, the party shall demonstrate a changed circumstance that is substantial and continuing.
I. The right of a parent, guardian or custodian or the department to receive child support payments as provided in the court order vests as each installment falls due. Each vested child support installment is enforceable as a final judgment by operation of law. Unless it is reduced to a written money judgment, an unpaid child support judgment that became a judgment by operation of law expires three years after the emancipation of the last remaining unemancipated child who was included in the court order. Beginning on January 1, 2000, child support orders, including modified orders, must notify the parties of this expiration date. The filing of a request for a written money judgment before the end of that period preserves the right to judgment until the court grants a judgment or the court denies the request. A request does not need to be filed within three years if:

1. The court later determines that the actions or conduct of an obligor impeded the establishment of a written money judgment, including avoiding service or notice of that action, changing a name or social security number or leaving the state where the last support order was entered without notifying the parent, guardian or custodian to whom support is ordered to be paid or the court or the department of that person’s residential and mailing addresses.
2. The court later finds that the obligor threatened, defrauded or wrongfully coerced the obligee into not filing a request to reduce any support arrearages to a written money judgment.

J. The department or its agent or a parent, guardian or custodian may file a request for judgment for support arrearages not later than three years after the emancipation of all of the children who were the subject of the court order. In such a proceeding there is no bar to the establishment of a money judgment for all of the unpaid child support arrearages for all of the children who were the subject of the court order. Notwithstanding any other law, formal written judgments for support and for associated costs and attorney fees are exempt from renewal and are enforceable until paid in full. If emancipation is disputed, this subsection shall be liberally construed to effect its intention of diminishing the limitation on the collection of child support arrearages.
K. If the department or its agent or a person entitled to receive child support or spousal maintenance if the spousal maintenance is combined with a child support order has not received court ordered payments, the department or its agent or a person may file with the clerk of the superior court an affidavit indicating the name of the person obligated to pay support and the amount of the arrearages. The department or its agent or a person filing the affidavit shall provide notice to the person obligated to pay support, pursuant to the Arizona rules of civil procedure or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the provisions of this section, including the person’s right to request a hearing within twenty days, and that an affidavit of arrearages has been filed with the clerk of the superior court for purposes of obtaining a judgment against the person and shall attach a copy of the affidavit. The department or its agent or a person shall provide the clerk with proof of service of the notice or a notice of mailing stating that the notice required by this subsection was sent to the person obligated to pay support, the name of the person to whom the notice was sent, the date of mailing to the person and the date of receipt by the person and shall attach the copy of the return receipt. Within twenty days after receipt of the notice, the person alleged to be in arrears may request a hearing in the superior court if the arrearage amount or identity of the person is in dispute. The court shall hold the hearing within ten days after receiving the request. If the person alleged to be in arrears fails to request a hearing within the time provided, or if the court finds that the objection is unfounded, the court shall review the affidavit and grant an appropriate judgment against the person obligated to pay support.
L. If the clerk or support payment clearinghouse is unable to deliver payments for a period of three months due to the failure of the person to whom the support has been ordered to be paid to notify the clerk or support payment clearinghouse of a change in address, the clerk or support payment clearinghouse shall return the payments to the obligor.
M. For the purposes of subsections I and J of this section, a child is emancipated:

1. On the date of the child’s marriage.
2. On the child’s eighteenth birthday.
3. When the child is adopted.
4. When the child dies.
5. On the termination of the support obligation if support is extended beyond the age of majority pursuant to section 25-501, subsection A or section 25-320, subsections B and C.


Inside Arizona Emancipation of Minor Law