How Can I Move Away From My Mother As A Teenager?

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I’m 13-years-old and live in Washington state. My parents are divorced, and my mother and her husband are not the greatest of parents. We fight all the time. My mother told me to get out of her house. My older brother (22) believes it is because I’m so much like my dad and my mom just hates me. My father and his new wife have another kid and I just don’t ever see him. Is there anyway that I could move in with another family? My best friend’s family has offered to take me in and I really want to so that I can get the experience and care that a teenager should get. Is there anyway to make this happen?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Because you are only thirteen, your options are fairly limited. You will not be able to petition a court for emancipation from your parents until you are 16. You can discuss the possibility of moving in to with another family, but your mother and father would still be legally responsible for you until you are 18 or succeed in an emancipation petition. You can also ask your father if you can move in with him. Your parents could then seek to change their custody arrangement.

From what you say, your relationship with your parents is difficult, but not to the level of abuse. If you are experiencing abuse, you could make a report (either directly to Child Protective Services or to a teacher, doctor, or other similar person). This could lead to you being removed from your home and placed into foster care. This is a drastic step, and you should only consider it if you are concerned for your safety.

Your options are limited, and will require some problem-solving and willingness to compromise on your part. What you cannot do is leave home without your parents’ permission. You will be considered a runaway, and the police will keep an eye out for you and return you home when the find you. This is for your safety. As difficult as your situation may be, you are still a child and your parents and your community have a responsibility to protect you.

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Author: House Attorney