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Limiting Judicial Discretion

Since the best interest standard is used in virtually every state to determine whether an emancipation petition should be granted, it's fair to state that judicial discretion and the determination of whether emancipation is in the child's best interest are inextricably linked.63 Thus, ways of guiding the court in making ``best interest'' determinations has been explored and the relevant discussions may be found in each states' emancipation section of this paper.64

Specific criteria are necessary to assist the judiciary in determining when emancipation is in the child's best interest. Additionally, when a minor meets the criteria set by statute, judicial discretion is greatly limited and decisions based upon personal biases or prejudices is significantly reduced. Setting criteria that a minor must meet also forces the minor to educate themselves about the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of emancipation, and assists minors in successfully transitioning into adulthood. Specifically, a minor must understand what rights they do or do not have under federal and state law to continued child support once they are emancipated.



Footnotes

...63
Paradise and Horowitz, supra n.12, at 14.
...64
Mich. Stat. Ann. 722.4(a) (LEXIS L. Publg. 2001). For example, some statutes, such as Michigan's, specify the criteria that a minor must demonstrate in order for her emancipation petition to be granted.

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