A: Emancipation is when a minor is given the legal authority of an adult. The minor is legally freed from control by his/her parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are freed from any and all responsibility toward the child.
In Trinidad & Tobago, a 16 or 17 year old minor can be emancipated by:
a) Marriage. (Parental consent required)
b) Enlistment in the Armed Forces. (Parental consent required)
c) Court order. A court will order a minor emancipated only if the following requirements are met:
- Statutory age: The minor must at least be 16 years old
- Maturity level. A court must generally confirm that the child has enough adult-like maturity to be on his or her own.
- Financial independence. In general, children must prove they can support themselves in order to get emancipated. i.e., *NO* assistance from anyone, even in the form of a friend of family member saying "you can live here for free". This means that the minor must be able to pay the rent by him/herself.
- Notice to parents/guardians. A child's legal guardians must get an opportunity to respond to the emancipation request, and perhaps even oppose it.
- Capacity to consent. Once a minor is emancipated, he or she can enter into contracts and dictate his or her own health-care choices, among other adult responsibilities.