STATUTORY AND JUDICIAL EMANCIPATION OF MINORS
IN THE UNITED STATES
TITLE 41. MINORS
CHAPTER 1. RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF MINORS
PART 5. LIMITED EMANCIPATION
41-1-501. Limited emancipation.
(1) The court may, upon the request of a youth who is 16 years of age or older, the youth's parent, or the department of public health and human services, enter an order granting limited emancipation to the youth.
(2) Limited emancipation may be granted only if the court has found:
(a) that limited emancipation is in the youth's best interests;
(b) that the youth desires limited emancipation;
(c) that there exists no public interest compelling denial of limited emancipation;
(d) that the youth has, or will reasonably obtain, money sufficient to pay for financial obligations incurred as a result of limited emancipation;
(e) that the youth, as shown by prior conduct and preparation, understands and may be expected to responsibly exercise those rights and responsibilities incurred as a result of limited emancipation;
(f) that the youth has graduated or will continue to diligently pursue graduation from high school, unless circumstances clearly compel deferral of education; and
(g) that, if it is considered necessary by the court, the youth will undergo periodic counseling with an appropriate advisor.
(3) An order of limited emancipation must specifically set forth the rights and responsibilities that are being conferred upon the youth. These may include but are not limited to one or more of the following:
(a) the right to live independently of in-house supervision;
(b) the right to live in housing of the youth's choice;
(c) the right to directly receive and expend money to which the youth is entitled and to conduct the youth's own financial affairs;
(d) the right to enter into contractual agreements and incur debts;
(e) the right to obtain access to medical treatment and records upon the youth's own authorization; and
(f) the right to obtain a license to operate equipment or perform a service.
(4) An order of limited emancipation must include a provision requiring that the youth make periodic reports to the court upon terms prescribed by the court.
(5) The court, on its own motion or on the motion of the county attorney or any parties to the dispositional hearing, may modify or revoke the order upon a showing that:
(a) the youth has committed a material violation of the law;
(b) the youth has violated a condition of the limited emancipation order; or
(c) the best interests of the youth are no longer served by limited emancipation.
41-1-202. Enforcement of minor's rights.
A minor may enforce his rights by civil action or other legal proceedings in the same manner as a person of full age, except that a guardian must conduct the same.
41-1-306. Minor cannot disaffirm certain obligations.
A minor cannot disaffirm an obligation, otherwise valid, entered into by him under the express authority or direction of a statute or when he has been granted limited emancipation, including a specific right to enter into contracts, under 41-1-501 and 41-3-438.
41-3-438. Disposition -- hearing -- order.
(1) Unless a petition is dismissed or unless otherwise stipulated by the parties pursuant to 41-3-434 or ordered by the court, a dispositional hearing must be held on every petition filed under this chapter within 20 days after an adjudicatory order has been entered under 41-3-437. Exceptions to the time limit may be allowed only in cases involving newly discovered evidence, unavoidable delays in the notification of parties, and unforeseen personal emergencies.
(2) (a) A dispositional order must be made after a dispositional hearing that is separate from the adjudicatory hearing under 41-3-437. The hearing process must be scheduled and structured so that dispositional issues are specifically addressed apart from adjudicatory issues. Hearsay evidence is admissible at the dispositional hearing.
(b) A dispositional hearing may follow an adjudicatory hearing in a bifurcated manner immediately after the adjudicatory phase of the proceedings if:
(i) all required reports are available and have been received by all parties or their attorneys at least 5 working days in advance of the hearing; and
(ii) the judge has an opportunity to review the reports after the adjudication.
(3) If a child is found to be a youth in need of care under 41-3-437, the court may enter its judgment, making any of the following dispositions to protect the welfare of the child:
(a) permit the child to remain with the child's parent or guardian, subject to those conditions and limitations the court may prescribe;
(b) grant an order of limited emancipation to a child who is 16 years of age or older, as provided in 41-1-501;
(c) transfer temporary legal custody to any of the following:
(i) the department;
(ii) a licensed child-placing agency that is willing and able to assume responsibility for the education, care, and maintenance of the child and that is licensed or otherwise authorized by law to receive and provide care of the child; or
(iii) a relative or other individual who is recommended by the department or a licensed child-placing agency designated by the court and who is found by the court to be qualified to receive and care for the child;
(d) order a party to the action to do what is necessary to give effect to the final disposition, including undertaking medical and psychological evaluations, treatment, and counseling that does not require an expenditure of money by the department unless the department consents and informs the court that resources are available for payment. The department is the payor of last resort after all family, insurance, and other resources have been examined.
(e) order further care and treatment as the court considers in the best interests of the child that does not require an expenditure of money by the department unless the department consents and informs the court that resources are available for the proposed care and treatment. The department is the payor of last resort after all family, insurance, and other resources have been examined pursuant to 41-3-446.
(4) (a) If the court awards temporary legal custody of an abandoned child other than to the department or to a noncustodial parent, the court shall award temporary legal custody of the child to a member of the child's extended family, including adult siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles, if:
(i) placement of the abandoned child with the extended family member is in the best interests of the child;
(ii) the extended family member requests that the child be placed with the family member; and
(iii) the extended family member is found by the court to be qualified to receive and care for the child.
(b) If more than one extended family member satisfies the requirements of subsection (4)(a), the court may award custody to the extended family member who can best meet the child's needs.
(5) If reasonable efforts have been made to prevent removal of a child from the home or to return a child to the child's home but continuation of the efforts is determined by the court to be inconsistent with permanency for the child, the department shall make reasonable efforts to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with a permanent plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(6) If the court finds that reasonable efforts are not necessary pursuant to 41-3-442(1) or subsection (5) of this section, a permanency plan hearing must be held within 30 days of that determination and reasonable efforts must be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(7) If the time limitations of this section are not met, the court shall review the reasons for the failure and order an appropriate remedy that considers the best interests of the child.