I live in Maine and am unaware of what exactly the laws are in this state. I turn 17 in a few months.

My mother told me to leave the house, but filed a missing person's report when I did.

I am filing for emancipation because the household is abusive and I don't want to live there. Will I be forced to go back while going through the emancipation process, or can I stay in a safe home until the case is decided?

1 Answer 1


Maine state law on child emancipation, as I think is common in every state in the US, requires that you establish your financial independence to receive emancipation:

  1. Order of emancipation. The court shall order emancipation of the juvenile if it determines that:

    A. The juvenile has made reasonable provision for the juvenile's room, board, health care and education, vocational training or employment; and [PL 2019, c. 525, §34 (AMD).]
    B. The juvenile is sufficiently mature to assume responsibility for the juvenile's own care and it is in the juvenile's best interest to do so. [PL 2019, c. 525, §34 (AMD).] [PL 2019, c. 525, §34 (AMD).]
  2. Denial of petition. If the court determines that the criteria established in subsection 4 are not met, the court shall deny the petition and may recommend that the Department of Health and Human Services provide continuing services and counseling to the family.

Your filing for emancipation should result in you being assigned legal counsel to represent you, and they would be best suited to advise you on the particulars of how to proceed. If you already have such counsel, I suggest you contact them ASAP.

Beyond that, "Best interest to do so" tends to be a tightly constrained phrase, and as such is difficult to establish. In particular, abuse or general disagreements with parenting do not satisfy the requirements for emancipation listed in (A) or (B).

So as you currently phrase things you will most likely end up in the "Denial of Petition" case, and the Office of Child and Family Services, which is part of the DHHS mentioned above, will likely get involved to deal with the abuse claims. Note that one can file a claim of abuse using links on their site. The OCFS also details the basics of their procedures for handling abuse claims on their site. It is probably best if you contact the OCFS directly about your concerns of remaining in the household, unless otherwise advised by legal counsel if you've already been assigned an attorney, in order to protect yourself. There may be other resources available to help you navigate through the process of getting protected from abuse, though I do not know them. If the claims are considered substantiated, you would be placed in foster care. Otherwise you and your parent(s)/guardian(s) may be sent to family counseling, if it is determined your risk is limited enough and better addressed therapeutically.

  • 1
    For what it is worth, the emancipation process differs materially from state to state. In some states you are not emancipated until a court declares you to be. In other states (e.g. Colorado) emancipation is a term the describes a factual reality (you support yourself and live away from any parent or guardian) that has legal consequences which a court recognizes rather than grants in connection with some other matter and one doesn't petition to be emancipated in most cases.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 27, 2020 at 4:22

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