Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 16.1. Courts Not of Record
Chapter 11. Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts

Article 15. Emancipation of Minors.

§ 16.1-331. Petition for emancipation.

Any minor who has reached his sixteenth birthday and is residing in this Commonwealth, or any parent or guardian of such minor, may petition the juvenile and domestic relations district court for the county or city in which either the minor or his parents or guardian resides for a determination that the minor named in the petition be emancipated. The petition shall contain, in addition to the information required by § 16.1-262, the gender of the minor and, if the petitioner is not the minor, the name of the petitioner and the relationship of the petitioner to the minor. If the petition is based on the minor's desire to enter into a valid marriage, the petition shall also include the name, age, date of birth, if known, and residence of the intended spouse. The petitioner shall also attach copies of any criminal records of each individual intending to be married. The petitioner shall also attach copies of any protective order issued between the individuals to be married.

1986, c. 506; 2016, cc. 457, 543.

§ 16.1-332. Orders of court; investigation, report and appointment of counsel.

If deemed appropriate the court may (i) require the local department of social services or any other agency or person to investigate the allegations in the petition and file a report of that investigation with the court, (ii) appoint counsel for the minor's parents or guardian, or (iii) make any other orders regarding the matter which the court deems appropriate. In any case pursuant to this article the court shall appoint counsel for the minor to serve as guardian ad litem.

1986, c. 506; 2002, c. 747.

§ 16.1-333. Findings necessary to order that minor is emancipated.

The court may enter an order declaring the minor emancipated if, after a hearing, it is found that: (i) the minor has entered into a valid marriage, whether or not that marriage has been terminated by dissolution; (ii) the minor is on active duty with any of the armed forces of the United States of America; (iii) the minor willingly lives separate and apart from his parents or guardian, with the consent or acquiescence of the parents or guardian, and that the minor is or is capable of supporting himself and competently managing his own financial affairs; or (iv) the minor desires to enter into a valid marriage and the requirements of § 16.1-333.1 are met.

1986, c. 506; 2016, cc. 457, 543.

§ 16.1-333.1. Written findings necessary to order that minor is emancipated on the basis of intent to marry.

The court may enter an order declaring such a minor who desires to get married emancipated if, after a hearing where both individuals intending to marry are present, the court makes written findings that:

1. It is the minor's own will that the minor enter into marriage, and the minor is not being compelled against the minor's will by force, threats, persuasions, menace, or duress;

2. The individuals to be married are mature enough to make such a decision to marry;

3. The marriage will not endanger the safety of the minor. In making this finding, the court shall consider (i) the age difference between the parties intending to be married; (ii) whether either individual to be married has a criminal record containing any conviction of an act of violence, as defined in § 19.2-297.1, or any conviction of a barrier crime, as defined in § 19.2-392.02; and (iii) any history of violence between the parties to be married; and

4. It is in the best interests of the minor petitioning for an order of emancipation that such order be entered. Neither a past or current pregnancy of either individual to be married or between the individuals to be married nor the wishes of the parents or legal guardians of the minor desiring to be married shall be sufficient evidence to establish that the best interests of the minor would be served by entering the order of emancipation.

2016, cc. 457, 543; 2017, c. 809.

§ 16.1-334. Effects of order.

An order that a minor is emancipated shall have the following effects:

1. The minor may consent to medical, dental, or psychiatric care, without parental consent, knowledge, or liability;

2. The minor may enter into a binding contract or execute a will;

3. The minor may sue and be sued in his own name;

4. The minor shall be entitled to his own earnings and shall be free of control by his parents or guardian;

5. The minor may establish his own residence;

6. The minor may buy and sell real property;

7. The minor may not thereafter be the subject of a petition under this chapter as abused, neglected, abandoned, in need of services, in need of supervision, or in violation of a juvenile curfew ordinance enacted by a local governing body;

8. The minor may enroll in any school or institution of higher education, without parental consent;

9. The minor may secure a driver's license under § 46.2-334 or § 46.2-335 without parental consent;

10. The parents of the minor shall no longer be the guardians of the minor;

11. The parents of a minor shall be relieved of any obligations respecting his school attendance under Article 1 (§ 22.1-254 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 22.1;

12. The parents shall be relieved of all obligation to support the minor;

13. The minor shall be emancipated for the purposes of parental liability for his acts;

14. The minor may execute releases in his own name;

15. The minor may not have a guardian ad litem appointed for him pursuant to any statute solely because he is under age 18; and

16. The minor may marry without parental, judicial, or other consent.

The acts done when such order is or is purported to be in effect shall be valid notwithstanding any subsequent action terminating such order or a judicial determination that the order was void ab initio.

1986, c. 506; 1990, c. 568; 1993, c. 778.

§ 16.1-334.1. Identification card issued to minor by DMV.

When entering an emancipation order under § 16.1-333, the court shall issue to the emancipated minor a copy of the order. Upon application to the Department of Motor Vehicles and submission of the copy, the Department shall issue to the minor an identification card containing the minor's photograph, a statement that such minor is emancipated, and a listing of all effects of the emancipation order as set forth in § 16.1-334.

1990, c. 568.