STATUTORY AND JUDICIAL EMANCIPATION OF MINORS
IN THE UNITED STATES
TITLE XLIII. DOMESTIC RELATIONS
CHAPTER 743. DISABILITY OF NONAGE OF MINORS REMOVED
743.01. Removal of disabilities of married minors.
The disability of nonage of a minor who is married or has been married or subsequently becomes married, including one whose marriage is dissolved, or who is widowed, or widowered, is removed. The minor may assume the management of his or her estate, contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, and perform all acts that he or she could do if not a minor.
743.015. Disabilities of nonage; removal.
(1) A circuit court has jurisdiction to remove the disabilities of nonage of a minor age 16 or older residing in this state upon a petition filed by the minor's natural or legal guardian or, if there is none, by a guardian ad litem.
(2) The petition shall contain the following information:
(a) The name, address, residence, and date of birth of the minor.
(b) The name, address, and current location of each of the minor's parents, if known.
(c) The name, date of birth, custody, and location of any children born to the minor.
(d) A statement of the minor's character, habits, education, income, and mental capacity for business, and an explanation of how the needs of the minor with respect to food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other necessities will be met.
(e) Whether the minor is a party to or the subject of a pending judicial proceeding in this state or any other jurisdiction, or the subject of a judicial order of any description issued in connection with such pending judicial proceeding.
(f) A statement of the reason why the court should remove the disabilities of nonage.
(3) If the petition is filed by the natural or legal guardian, the court must appoint an attorney ad litem for the minor child, and the minor child shall be brought before the court to determine if the interest of the minor will be fully protected by the removal of disabilities of nonage. The attorney ad litem shall represent the child in all related proceedings.
(4) If the petition is filed by the guardian ad litem or next friend, service of process must be perfected on the natural parents.
(5) If both parents are not jointly petitioning the court for the removal of the disabilities of nonage of the minor, service of process must be made upon the nonpetitioning parent. Constructive service of process may be used, provided the petitioning parent makes an actual, diligent search to discover the location of, and provide notice to, the nonpetitioning parent.
(6) The court shall consider the petition and receive such evidence as it deems necessary to rule on the petition. If the court determines that removal of the disabilities of nonage is in the minor's best interest, it shall enter an order to that effect. An order removing the disabilities of nonage shall have the effect of giving the minor the status of an adult for purposes of all criminal and civil laws of the state, and shall authorize the minor thereafter to exercise all of the rights and responsibilities of persons who are 18 years of age or older.
(7) The court shall consider the petition and, if satisfied that the removal of the disabilities is in the minor's best interest, shall remove the disabilities of nonage; and shall authorize the minor to perform all acts that the minor could do if he or she were 18 years of age.
(8) The judgment shall be recorded in the county in which the minor resides, and a certified copy shall be received as evidence of the removal of disabilities of nonage for all matters in all courts.
743.05. Removal of disabilities of minors; borrowing money for educational purposes.
For the purpose of borrowing money for their own higher educational expenses, the disability of nonage of minors is removed for all persons who have reached 16 years of age. Such minors are authorized to make and execute promissory notes, contracts, or other instruments necessary for the borrowing of money for this purpose. The promissory notes, contracts, or other instruments so made shall have the same effect as though they were the obligations of persons who were not minors. No such obligation shall be valid if the interest rate on it exceeds the prevailing interest rate for the federal Guaranteed Student Loan Program.
743.06. Removal of disabilities of minors; donation of blood without parental consent.
Any minor who has reached the age of 17 years may give consent to the donation, without compensation therefor, of her or his blood and to the penetration of tissue which is necessary to accomplish such donation. Such consent shall not be subject to disaffirmance because of minority, unless the parent or parents of such minor specifically object, in writing, to the donation or penetration of the skin.
743.066. Removal of disability of minors adjudicated as adults.
The disability of nonage of a minor adjudicated as an adult and in the custody or under the supervision of the Department of Corrections is removed, as such disability relates to health care services, except in regard to medical services relating to abortion and sterilization.
743.07. Rights, privileges, and obligations of persons 18 years of age or older.
(1) The disability of nonage is hereby removed for all persons in this state who are 18 years of age or older, and they shall enjoy and suffer the rights, privileges, and obligations of all persons 21 years of age or older except as otherwise excluded by the State Constitution immediately preceding the effective date of this section and except as otherwise provided in the Beverage Law.
(2) This section shall not prohibit any court of competent jurisdiction from requiring support for a dependent person beyond the age of 18 years when such dependency is because of a mental or physical incapacity which began prior to such person reaching majority or if the person is dependent in fact, is between the ages of 18 and 19, and is still in high school, performing in good faith with a reasonable expectation of graduation before the age of 19.
(3) This section shall operate prospectively and not retrospectively, and shall not affect the rights and obligations existing prior to July 1, 1973.
743.08. Removal of disabilities of minors; artistic or creative services; professional sports contracts; judicial approval.
(1) A contract made by a minor or made by a parent or guardian of a minor, or a contract proposed to be so made, may be approved by the probate division of the circuit court or any other division of the circuit court that has guardianship jurisdiction, where the minor is a resident of this state or the services of the minor are to be performed or rendered in this state, where the contract sought to be approved is one under which:
(a) The minor is to perform or render artistic or creative services, including, but not limited to, services as an actor, actress, dancer, musician, vocalist, model, stunt person, conductor, or other performing artist.
(b) The minor is to render services as a participant or player in professional athletics or semiprofessional athletics, including, but not limited to, track and field, surfing, sailing, diving, boxing, gymnastics, ice skating, wrestling, bicycling, soccer, horse racing, motocross, softball, baseball, football, hockey, basketball, tennis, golf, and jai alai.
(c) The minor will endorse a product or service, or in any other way receive compensation for the use of right of publicity of the minor as that right is defined by s. 540.08.
(d) The minor agrees to purchase, sell, lease, license, transfer, or otherwise exploit literary, musical, or dramatic properties, whether tangible or intangible, or any rights therein for use in motion pictures, television, the production of phonorecords, the legitimate or living stage, or otherwise in the entertainment field.
(e) A person is employed to receive compensation from the minor for services to the minor in connection with such performing or athletic services of the minor such as a coach, manager, agent, trainer, or otherwise to represent or advise the minor in connection with contracts therefor.
(2) Approval under this section may be sought for a contract or agreement that is already in existence and under which the parties are currently performing.
(3) (a) If a contract described by subsection (1) is so approved by the circuit court pursuant to the requirements of this section and the requirements of ss. 743.09, 743.095, and chapter 744, the minor may not, either during his or her minority or upon reaching his or her majority, disaffirm the contract on the ground of minority or assert that the parent or guardian lacked authority to make the contract. A contract modified, amended, or assigned after its approval under this section shall be deemed a new contract.
(b) If a contract described by subsection (1) is so approved, all earnings, royalties, or other compensation earned or received by the minor pursuant to said approved contract shall become the property of the minor, subject to the provisions of ss. 743.09, 743.095, and chapter 744.
(4) (a) Approval of the contract pursuant to this section shall not exempt any person from any other law with respect to licenses, consents, or authorizations required for any conduct, employment, use, or exhibition of the minor in this state, nor limit in any manner the discretion of the licensing authority or other persons charged with the administration of such requirements, nor dispense with any other requirement of law relating to the minor.
(b) Approval of a contract pursuant to this section does not remove the disability of nonage for any other contract with the same minor which is not approved by the court pursuant to this section, nor is the disability of nonage of the minor removed generally for the minor, nor is the minor emancipated for any other purpose or contract other than the performance of contracts approved pursuant to this section.
(c) No contract shall be approved which provides for an employment, use, or exhibition of the minor, within or without the state, which is prohibited by law and in particular by any federal or state child labor law, and could not be licensed to take place in this state.
(d) No contract shall be approved by the court:
1. Unless a written acquiescence to such contract by the parent or parents having custody, or other person having custody of the minor, is filed in the proceeding;
2. Unless written approval is given by the guardian ad litem appointed by the court in this proceeding; or
3. If the court shall find that the minor is emancipated.
(e) No contract shall be approved, if the term during which the minor is to perform or render services or during which a person is employed to render services to a minor, including any extensions thereof by option or otherwise, extends for a period of more than 3 years from the date of approval of the contract. If the contract contains any other covenant or condition which extends beyond such 3 years, the same may be approved if found to be reasonable and for such period as the court may determine.
(f) If the court which has approved a contract pursuant to this section shall find that the physical or mental well-being of the minor is being impaired by the performance thereof or in violation of any child labor law, it may, at any time during the term of the contract during which services are to be performed by the minor or rendered by or to the minor or during the term of any other covenant or condition of the contract, either revoke its approval of the contract or declare such approval revoked unless a modification of the contract which the court finds to be appropriate in the circumstances is agreed upon by the parties and the contract as modified is approved by order of the court. Application for an order pursuant to this subsection may be made by the minor, or his or her parent or parents or guardian, or by the person having the care and custody of the minor, or by a guardian ad litem appointed for the purpose by the court on its own motion. The order granting or denying the application shall be made after hearing, upon notice to the parties to the proceeding in which the contract was approved, given in such manner as the court shall direct. Revocation of the approval of the contract shall not affect any right of action existing at the date of the revocation, except that the court may determine that a refusal to perform on the ground of impairment of the well-being of the minor was justified.
743.09. Removal of disabilities of minors; artistic or creative services; professional sports contracts; procedure for court approval; appointment of a guardian ad litem.
(1) (a) A proceeding for the approval of a contract described by s. 743.08 shall be commenced by verified petition by:
1. Either natural parent of the minor, or other person having custody of the minor;
2. A guardian of person or property of the minor;
3. The minor;
4. Any party to the contract sought to be approved; or
5. Any other interested person.
(b) If a guardian of the person or property of the minor has been appointed or qualified in this state, the petition shall be made to the court by which he or she was appointed or in which he or she qualified. If there is no such guardian, the petition shall be made in the circuit court, probate division, or other circuit division having guardianship jurisdiction, in the circuit where the minor resides, or if he or she is not a resident of the state, in any county in which the minor is to be employed under the contract.
(c) The following persons, other than one who is the petitioner or who joins in the petition, shall be served with the petition by formal notice as provided by the Florida Probate Rules:
1. The minor, if over the age of 14 years.
2. His or her guardian or guardians, if any, whether or not appointed or qualified in this state.
3. Each party to the contract.
4. The parent or parents of the minor.
5. Any person having the care and custody of the minor.
6. The person with whom the minor resides, if other than a parent or guardian.
(d) Formal notice shall be made at least 30 days before the time at which the petition is set to be heard, unless the court shall fix a shorter time upon cause shown.
(2) The petition shall have annexed a complete copy of the contract or proposed contract and shall set forth:
(a) The full name, residence, and date of birth of the minor.
(b) The name and residence of any living parent of the minor, the name and residence of the person who has care and custody of the minor, and the name and residence of the person with whom the minor resides.
(c) Whether the minor is a resident of the state or, if he or she is not a resident, that the petition is for approval of a contract for performance or rendering of services by the minor and the place in the state where the services are to be performed or rendered.
(d) A brief statement as to the minor's employment and compensation under the contract or proposed contract.
(e) A statement that the term of the contract during which the minor is to perform or render services or during which a person is employed to render services to the minor can in no event extend for a period of more than 3 years from the date of approval of the contract.
(f) An enumeration of any other covenants or conditions contained in the contract which extend beyond such 3 years or a statement that the contract contains no such other covenants or conditions.
(g) A schedule showing the minor's estimated gross earnings, estimated outlays, and estimated net earnings as defined in s. 743.095.
(h) The interest of the petitioner in the contract or proposed contract or in the minor's performance under it.
(i) Such other facts known by the petitioner regarding the minor and his or her family and property as show that the contract is reasonable and provident and for the best interests of the minor, including whether the minor has had at any time a guardian appointed by a court of any jurisdiction, and the facts with respect to any previous application for the relief sought or whether similar relief has been sought with respect to the minor.
(3) At any time after the filing of the petition, the court, if it deems it advisable, may appoint a guardian ad litem, pursuant to s. 744.301, to represent the interests of the minor. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem as to any contract where the parent or guardian will receive remuneration or financial gain from the performance of the contract or has any other conflict of interest with the minor as defined by s. 744.446. The court, in determining whether a guardian ad litem should be appointed, may consider the following criteria:
(a) The length of time the exclusive services of the minor are required.
(b) Whether the gross earnings of the minor under the contract are either contingent or unknown.
(c) Whether the gross earnings of the minor under the contract are in excess of $15,000.
(4) The guardian ad litem shall be entitled to reasonable compensation. The court shall have the power to determine the amount of the reasonable compensation paid to the guardian ad litem and may determine which party shall be responsible for the fee, whether the fee shall be paid from the earnings of the minor pursuant to the contract sought to be approved, or may apportion the fee between the parties to the proceedings.
(5) (a) The minor, unless excused by the court for good cause shown, shall attend personally before the court upon the hearing of the petition.
(b) The court may, by order:
1. Determine any issue arising from the pleadings or proof and required to be determined for final disposition of the matter, including issues with respect to the age or emancipation of the minor.
2. Approve or disapprove the contract or proposed contract.
3. Approve the contract upon such conditions, with respect to modification of the terms thereof or otherwise, as it shall determine.
4. Appoint a guardian of the property to hold the earnings of the minor as provided by s. 743.095.
743.095. Removal of disabilities of minors; artistic or creative services; professional sports contracts; guardianship of the property.
(1) (a) The court may withhold its approval of the contract sought to be approved under ss. 743.08 and 743.09 until the filing of a guardianship plan by the parents or legal guardian of the minor, which shall provide that a part of the minor's net earnings for services performed or rendered during the term of the contract be set aside and saved for the minor under a guardianship of the property as provided in this section, until he or she attains his or her majority or until further order of the court.
(b) The court shall fix the amount or proportion of net earnings to be set aside as it deems for the best interests of the minor, and the amount or proportion so fixed may, upon subsequent application, be modified in the discretion of the court, within the limits of the consent given at the time the contract was approved. In fixing such amount or proportion, consideration shall be given to the financial circumstances of the parent of the minor and to the needs of their other children or, if the minor has any dependents, to the needs of his or her family. If the minor has no dependents, then the court shall not require the setting aside of an amount or proportion in excess of two-thirds of the net earnings of the minor.
(c) For the purposes of this act, net earnings shall mean the gross earnings received for services performed or rendered by the minor during the term of the contract, less:
1. All sums required by law to be paid as taxes to any government or subdivision thereof with respect to or by reason of such earnings.
2. Reasonable sums to be expended for the support, care, education, coaching, training, and professional management of the minor.
3. Reasonable fees and expenses paid or to be paid in connection with the proceeding for approval, the contract, and its performance.
(d) Notwithstanding anything set forth herein, the creditors of any person, other than of the minor, shall not be entitled to the earnings of the minor.
(2) (a) If a guardian of the property of the minor has been appointed or qualified in this state, he or she shall receive and hold any net earnings directed by the court to be set aside for the minor as provided in subsection (1) and by chapter 744 governing guardians of the property. In any other case a guardian of the property shall be appointed for the purpose of holding the net earnings of the minor pursuant to the contract as directed by the court pursuant to subsection (1) and thereafter shall hold said earnings as a guardian of the property pursuant to chapter 744.
(b) A parent, guardian, or other petitioner is not ineligible to be appointed as guardian of the property or earnings of a minor derived from a contract approved pursuant to ss. 743.08 and 743.09 by reason of his or her interest in any part of the minor's earnings under the contract or proposed contract or by reason of the fact that he or she is a party to or otherwise interested in the contract or in the minor's performance under the contract, provided such interest is fully disclosed to the court.