Emancipation in Wisconsin

March 26, 2021 Pre Divorce

What does an emancipation of a child mean?

“Emancipation” refers to a child becoming a legal adult.

How to Get Emancipated

In Wisconsin there is no legal process for emancipation. Children cannot “divorce” their parents and declare themselves independent via a court process.

At what legal age can a child emancipate themselves from their household?

In Wisconsin, children become emancipated when they turn 18. They can become emancipated earlier if they get married (parental consent is required for anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 to get married) or if they enlist in the Armed Forces. However, military service requires a high school diploma so, as a practical matter, most individuals who joint the military are at least 17 or 18 years old. Anyone younger than 17 years old must have parental consent to join the military.

Financially Declaring Yourself as an Independent

Wisconsin minors cannot declare themselves independent. They remain subject to the state’s custody and placement laws until they are 18. This means if they do not have a competent adult to care for them, a guardian will be appointed or the state will become their custodian through the foster care system.

How to Emancipate Your Child

You cannot emancipate or “divorce” your child in Wisconsin. You can terminate your parental rights, but only if another competent adult is ready, willing, and able to adopt your child.

Emancipation & Child Support

If your child has chosen to live with someone else and you are no longer exercising any authority or decision-making rights over your child under an informal arrangement with his or her caregivers, you remain statutorily liable for supporting the child.