Ending Emancipation

Topic Menu

When Emancipation Can Be Ended

A parent or emancipated minor can ask that an emancipation order be canceled (or rescinded). A judge or referee will cancel an emancipation order if:

  • The minor has no way to support themselves;

  • The minor and their parents agree the order should be canceled; OR

  • The family relationship has resumed (the minor is living with their parents or guardian).

The minor has no way to support themselves

The emancipation order will be canceled if the minor can no longer support themselves. This can happen if the minor loses or quits a job and can’t afford to pay rent. It can also happen if the minor does not have enough money to pay bills or debts.

The minor and parents agree the order should be canceled

The judge or referee will cancel the emancipation order if the minor and parents agree it should be canceled. This happens if at the hearing the minor and the minor’s parents say they want to cancel the order.

Family relationship has resumed

If the minor and parents have resumed the family relationship, the judge or referee will cancel the emancipation order. This can happen if the minor moves back in with the parents.

Effects of Ending Emancipation

Ending emancipation means the minor can no longer:

  • Live on their own

  • Register for school

  • Get married

  • Make a will

  • Authorize their own medical, dental, and mental health care

  • Enter contracts, including leases

  • Conduct business

  • Sue someone or be sued by someone

  • Apply for medical assistance, such as Medicaid

  • Apply for other assistance, such as cash or food assistance

  • Make decisions for their own child

The minor’s parents will once again have a duty to care for and support the minor. So will guardians or custodians who act like parents. They will have the right to make decisions for their minor children. These rights and duties continue until a child turns 18 years old.

Continuing Obligations after Emancipation Ends

The minor must honor all contracts made while emancipated, even if the emancipation order is canceled. This means the minor must still pay rent if a lease was signed after the emancipation order. If the minor bought a car, the minor must still make the payments.

An emancipated minor’s debt does not go away if the judge or referee cancels the emancipation order. The minor is still responsible for any continuing obligations.

How to End an Emancipation

Preparing and Filing the Forms

The parent or the minor can file a petition asking the court to cancel the emancipation.

You will need the following forms:

You will need a Summons for each other party in the case. For example, if you are an emancipated minor, you need a Summons for each of your parents.

Download the blank forms and fill in the blanks. Look at the petition and order from the emancipation case for the case number. You will need to wait to fill in the Notice of Hearing until you can get a hearing date from the clerk's office.

File your forms at the clerk's office in the circuit court that issued the emancipation order. Bring your Petition, the Summons (or both copies if two are needed), and the Notice of Hearing. Ask the clerk for a hearing date and time. Write the hearing information on the Notice of Hearing. 

There is a $150 filing fee to file the petition. You can ask for a fee waiver if you can’t afford the filing fee. Read the article Fee Waivers in Court Cases to learn when and how to ask for this. You can use the Do-It-Yourself Fee Waiver tool to complete this form.

Ask the clerk's office for copies of the forms you filed. Make sure that you have a copy of each form for each other person in your case.

Serving the Forms

A copy of the Petition, Summons, and Notice of Hearing must be served on the minor or the minor’s parents. A minor who wants to end an emancipation must have the papers served on their parent or parents. A parent who wants to end an emancipation must have the papers served on the minor.

Some courts will serve the papers for you. If so, you may have to pay the cost of serving. Ask the clerk’s office if they will serve the papers for you.

You cannot serve the papers yourself. An adult who is not a party in the case can serve the papers. The server can mail the papers or personally hand them to the person or people being served. If the papers are mailed, they should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee.

Filing the Proof of Service

Next, the server must complete a Proof of Service form, and it must be filed. The Proof of Service is on the second page of the Summons. If service was done by mail, attach the return receipt (the green card) to the Proof of Service. File the Proof of Service at the court clerk's office. 

Going to Court

When people represent themselves in court, they are expected to follow the same rules lawyers do.

Attend the hearing and be prepared to present your case to the judge or referee. Bring any evidence to court with you. Be ready to talk about the things you wrote in your petition. 

Dress neatly. Arrive 10 or 15 minutes before your hearing is scheduled. It’s important to show up on time. Let the court know you’re there by telling the clerk or officer sitting by the judge’s bench. Do not interrupt the current proceeding.

Be prepared to spend most of the morning or afternoon in court. Bring any witnesses and your evidence with you. Remember to speak clearly, answer any questions the judge or referee asks, and do not interrupt the judge, referee, or anyone else.

The judge or referee may hear your entire case at the first hearing, or they could schedule another hearing date to finish your case.

If emancipation is ended, the court must keep a copy of the order until the minor turns 25 years old.