Emancipation of a Minor

Emancipation is the process where a minor child under the age of 18 is legally declared an adult by a judge.   

A minor can petition the court to be emancipated if:

  • The minor is at least 16 years old;
  • The minor is married or living separate and apart from his or her parents; and
  • The minor is a resident of this county.

Before allowing emancipation, a judge must consider many things.  The judge will closely examine the following in the legal paperwork, and will probably ask about the following at the emancipation hearing:

  • Whether the parents / legal guardians consent;
  • Whether the minor is able to support him/herself without financial assistance;
  • Whether the minor is mature and knowledgeable enough to manage his or her own affairs; and
  • Whether emancipation is in the minor's best interest.

If emancipation is granted, the minor is treated as an adult for most purposes. 

CAUTION!

Emancipation DOES NOT allow a minor to purchase or consume alcohol, gamble or work at a gambling facility, or get married without judicial/parental consent.  The laws regarding emancipation and its legal effects can be found at NRS 129.080 - 129.140.

 

Petitioning for Emancipation

The minor seeking emancipation must follow these steps to ask the court to be emancipated:

  1. Complete the Paperwork
  2. File the Paperwork
  3. Serve the Parents and Required Agencies (the most important and often forgotten step!)
  4. Go to the Hearing
  5. Serve the Final Order

Step 1: Complete the Paperwork

The minor seeking emancipation will need to complete a Family Court Cover Sheet, Petition for Emancipation, and Notice of Hearing to open a case. If a parent or legal guardian will consent to the emancipation, that person should also complete a Consent to Emancipation.

 

Family Court Cover Sheet

This form asks for basic information about you.  You are the "petitioner."  The Clerk of Court uses this information to open your case with the court.

Family Court Cover Sheet (pdf)  Family Court Cover Sheet (pdf fillable)

 

Petition for Emancipation

This is the legal form asking to be emancipated.  You must include information about your parents, legal guardians, schooling, and employment.

Petition for Emancipation (pdf)

Notice of Hearing

All emancipation requests require a hearing in front of a judge.  The Notice of Hearing sets a court date for your request.  Include the names of the parents / legal guardians, or, if there are none, include the name of the closest relative living in Nevada.  You must also include your probation officer if applicable.  

Notice of Hearing (pdf)


Consent to Emancipation

If either parent or legal guardian will agree to the emancipation, they must complete this form.  Each parent / guardian must complete a separate form, indicating their agreement to the emancipation. 

Consent to Emancipation (pdf)

 

Step 2: File the Paperwork

After you fill out the papers above, you will need to file all of the documents with the family court to open up a case. The fee to file these papers is $270. The fee is payable by cash, money order, or most major credit/debit cards. If you cannot afford the fee, please see Filing Fees and Waivers to find out how to ask the court to waive the fee.

You can file your papers one of three ways:

  1. In Person: Bring your filing fee and the forms to the Family Courts and Services Center. You will be able to file your papers in person at the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, but you must arrive by 3:40 p.m. to see a Clerk before closing. Be sure to arrive before then.

  2. By Mail: If you cannot come to the court during business hours, you can mail your forms and the filing fee to:

    Family Courts and Services Center
    Attn: Clerk of Court
    601 North Pecos Road
    Las Vegas, NV 89101

  3. Online: You can file the papers online through the court's e-filing system, Wiznet. There is a fee of $3.50 to upload each document, in addition to the regular filing fee. You must register for an account, you must provide a valid email address, and you must be able to scan and upload your documents.

 

Step 3: Serve the Parents/Guardians and Agencies

THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT! If you do not follow this step properly, the judge may cancel your hearing! Be sure to read and follow the instructions here to make sure every required person is properly served with your papers. It is up to YOU to serve the documents; the court does not serve the documents for you.

Who to Serve:

There are a number of people who must be "served" with copies of your legal papers.  The Petition for Emancipation and the Notice of Hearing must be served on all of the following people:

  • Both parents and/or legal guardians.  If the parents/guardians cannot be found, then you must serve your closest relative who lives in Nevada.
  • Your legal custodian (this is usually your parents/guardian).
  • The Clark County District Attorney (their office is in the Family Court Complex).
  • Your probation officer, if you have one.

How to Serve the Papers:

  • For people who will sign for the papers: Anyone who will willingly sign for the papers can accept the papers from you and then fill out an Acceptance of Service form.  The District Attorney and your probation officer will usually sign this form to accept service of the documents.  Print out a copy of the Acceptance of Service form for each person who will willingly sign for the papers, and have them sign the form when they accept the documents:

    Acceptance of Service (pdf)
     
  • For people who will not sign for the papers: The documents must be hand-delivered to anyone who will not sign for the papers.  Someone over the age of 18 who is not part of this case must serve the papers - you cannot serve them.  The person who serves the documents will have to fill out an Affidavit of Service for each person served.  Print out a copy of the Affidavit of Service form for each person you think will need to be "served."

    Affidavit of Service (pdf)

You must file an Acceptance of Service or an Affidavit of Service for all of the people required to be served.  Make sure all of the papers proving service are filed before your hearing. 

 

Step 4: Go to the Hearing

It is a good idea to review some tips on how to Represent Yourself in Court before you go to the hearing.

Arrive at least 20 minutes early to allow enough time to park, get through security, and find the courtroom.  Dress professionally, as if you were going to a job interview. 

At the hearing, the judge will ask you some questions and decide whether to grant the emancipation.  If the judge grants your request, you will need to provide a Recommendation and Decree of Emancipation to the judge to sign.  You can fill out this form ahead of time and bring it with you to your hearing to speed up the process.

Recommendation and Decree of Emancipation (pdf)

 

Step 5: Serve the Final Order

After the judge signs the Recommendation and Decree of Emancipation, you must mail a copy of the order to all of the same people that you served in step 3.  You must file a Notice of Entry of Order to notify everyone of the order and as proof that you served everyone. 

When you get your signed copy of the Decree, fill out the Notice of Entry of Order and attach a copy of the filed Recommendation and Decree of Emancipation.  File this form with the court and mail a copy of the Notice of Entry of Order (with the Decree attached) to all of the same people you served with the initial paperwork.  These people should all be listed in the "certificate of mailing" portion of the form.

Notice of Entry of Order (pdf)