Can I legally move out at 17 in IL?
September 16, 2011 7:58 AM   Subscribe

As a 17 year old, can I legally move out on my own in Illinois?

I'm 17 years old, living in Illinois, and I have at least one parent's consent to move out. I'm not sure about the other. I'm looking to move out of my house, and into an apartment with a couple of friends. I've been looking for and may have a job lined up, which means I don't have too much worry about supporting myself, and I've got some money saved up if I need it. What I am worried about is making sure that I'm staying within my legal boundaries in the process of moving out.

Can I legally move out of my parents' house and into an apartment before I turn 18? If the parent I'm not sure about consent-wise decides to put up a fight, what sorts of obstacles could I be up against? What sort of powers do they have to pull me back into the house? (I.E, could I be arrested as a "runaway" and brought back to the house by force?) If only one parent refuses to give consent for me to move out, do they have the ability to take action, or does my other parent's given consent cancel that out?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know about moving out of the house, but as far as parental consent in Illinois goes, both parents/guardians must give consent for a minor's marriage, and both parents must be informed before a minor's abortion. We appear to be a sate that values parental input.

That said, I can't imagine (speculation here) that you would be forcibly brought back home based on the wishes of one parent, when the other parent is fine with it, unless there's something illegal going on in the apartment you move into. The police have better things to worry about.

Are your parents married to each other or divorced? There may be some stipulation in the custody settlement that would change things. I don't know for sure, though.

You can also go to court to get recognized as an emancipated minor, though without having a job yet, that's going to be tough.

My personal advice is to not make a big thing about this if there's nothing threatening your safety or well-being at home. You'll be 18 soon enough. (I say this as an unemployed college graduate in Illinois, who hasn't lived at home in many years, but is grateful for the occasional financial support she receives from her parents. Don't go burning any bridges.)
posted by phunniemee at 8:18 AM on September 16, 2011

The word you're looking for is "emancipation". Look into the emancipation laws in Illinois. It appears that if you're over 16 and can demonstrate that you are mature and self-sufficient, you can be emancipated and considered an adult.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:33 AM on September 16, 2011

According to this page on a legal aid site in Illinois, "Once you are emancipated, your parents can no longer decide where you will live, go to school, or work. " So it would suggest that if you are not emancipated they can.

But that doesn't make clear what happens if just one parent gives permission. And then later it states "it is best if they are living in a stable location – such as with friends, relatives or in their own apartments – before they seek an emancipation order."

The site looks helpful overall - maybe there is a way you can ask what seems like a pretty straightforward question for a qualified legal professional.
posted by mikepop at 8:34 AM on September 16, 2011

"No order of complete or partial emancipation may be entered under this Act if there is any objection by the minor, his parents or guardian." You can't become emancipated if your parents don't consent.
posted by decathecting at 8:45 AM on September 16, 2011

Even if both parents consent to your moving out--you can't sign a legal contract, like a lease agreement--as an unemanciapted minor. You may be stuck looking for places without a lease, or having only your over-18 roommates on the lease, or having a parent sign the lease for you. I dont know the rental market in Illinois at all, but you may have a hard time finding a landlord willing to rent to someone your age, especially without a solid work history or a parent co-signer.
posted by inertia at 9:14 AM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I actually moved out on my own, in Chicago, when I was 17. I was not emancipated. I had someone who was over 18 sign my lease. I was also employed. My parent objected, but not in a way that she would have addressed this through police or the law.

Actual emancipation is often a lengthy process and is for a specific set of circumstances; possibly not yours. (It's also often time consuming; you may be 18 by then.)

I cannot answer your other questions; they are really for a legal-type person.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:03 AM on September 16, 2011

I went off to college at 16 and became an emancipated minor as part facilitating that process being a lot easier. Of course, this was 20 years ago, so the laws may have changed, but state laws on emancipation do vary quite a bit. Here in Maine it's pretty easy.

Note that Il state law says explicitly "No order of complete or partial emancipation may be entered under this Act if there is any objection by the minor, his parents or guardian. " Typically to get the judge to agree you will also need to have a concrete plan about where you will live, how you will pay your expenses, etc. Note that for the purposes of secondary education financial aid being emancipated does *not* automatically exempt your parents' income from being included in the calculations.

Here is the actual law about emancipation in Illinois

Here is more information (with explanation) from the Cook County Court
posted by anastasiav at 10:48 AM on September 16, 2011

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