INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVE DOUGHERTY.
Read 1st time January 11, 1999, and 1000 copies ordered printed.
ANNE C. WALKER, Chief Clerk
Relating to emancipation of minors.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section 1. A person under the age of eighteen years of age is an emancipated minor if any of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The minor enters into a valid marriage, whether or not the marriage is subsequently dissolved;
(2) The minor has served or is currently serving with the armed forces or National Guard of the United States; or
(3) The minor receives a judgment of emancipation pursuant to sections 2 to 4 of this act.
Section 2. 1. A minor may petition the family or juvenile court of the county in which the minor resides or is temporarily domiciled for a judgment of emancipation. The petition shall set forth with specificity the following facts:
(1) The minor is at least sixteen years of age;
(2) The minor willingly lives separate and apart from the minor's parents or guardian with the implied or express consent of the minor's parents or guardian;
(3) The minor is managing his or her own financial affairs. As evidence of this, the minor shall complete and attach a declaration of income and expenses; and
(4) The source of the minor's income is not derived from any activity declared to be a crime by the laws of this state or the United States.
2. Upon the filing of the petition for emancipation, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem or CASA volunteer for the minor, enter the request into a tracking system, and cause a summons to be issued to the minor and the parents or legal guardian of the minor.
3. After the filing of the petition, the court shall arrange for mediation between the minor, juvenile officer, guardian ad litem or CASA volunteer, and the minor's parents or legal guardian, unless the court determines that it is in the best interest of the minor to waive the mediation requirement. The court may order the parents of the minor to pay the costs of mediation.
Section 3. 1. The court may dismiss a petition for emancipation of a minor and deny such emancipation. If the court determines that the petition should be granted, the court shall enter a temporary judgment of emancipation. A judgment so entered shall have the same force and effect as a permanent judgment of emancipation. The court may grant the temporary petition for emancipation if the court finds that:
(1) The minor is at least sixteen years of age; and
(2) The minor is:
(a) In a valid marriage; or
(b) A former or current member of the armed forces or National Guard of the United States; or
(c) Willingly living separate and apart from the parents or legal guardian of the minor with the implied or express consent of such parents or legal guardian and:
a. The minor is managing his or her financial affairs;
b. Emancipation is in the best interest of the minor;
c. The minor wishes to be free of the control of his or her parents or legal guardian and no longer needs supervision or protection; and
d. The minor understands the consequences of being emancipated.
2. The juvenile court or family court shall retain jurisdiction over the matter for a period of up to six months. During such period, the court shall provide a mentor for the minor to evaluate the needs of the minor and provide any necessary counseling. The court shall consider the best interest of the child in determining whether to appoint a mentor. The court may order the parents of the emancipated minor to pay court costs and the costs of mentoring. After the judgment of emancipation, the court shall maintain jurisdiction over the emancipated minor until the minor reaches the age of eighteen solely for the purpose of providing counseling when necessary.
3. A temporary judgment of emancipation shall become final, conclusive and binding six months after the granting of the temporary judgment, unless:
(1) The court determines that compelling reasons exist for waiver of the six-month waiting period; or
(2) The minor petitions the court for its rescission; or
(3) The guardian ad litem or CASA volunteer assigned to represent the best interest of the minor petitions the court for rescission of the judgment. The petition shall state specifically the grounds for rescission. The court, in its discretion, may grant the petition for rescission, grant a subsequent temporary judgment or grant the minor a permanent judgment of emancipation.
Section 4. 1. A judgment for emancipation of a minor shall only have the following effects:
(1) The minor may consent to medical, dental or psychiatric care for himself or herself without parental consent, knowledge or liability;
(2) The minor may enter into a binding contract;
(3) The minor may sue and be sued in his or her own name;
(4) The minor shall be entitled to his or her own earnings, and shall be free of control by his or her parents or guardian;
(5) The minor may establish his or her own residence;
(6) The minor may buy and sell personal property;
(7) The minor may enroll in any secondary school or college, or enter into any educational loan agreement without parental consent;
(8) The minor shall be deemed to be over eighteen years of age for purposes of registering a motor vehicle;
(9) The minor shall be emancipated for the purposes of parental liability for acts committed by the minor;
(10) The minor shall be emancipated for purposes of maintaining an action against his or her parents or legal guardian arising in tort; and
(11) The minor shall be able to work more than twenty hours in a workweek.
2. The court shall make a finding as to whether the parents or legal guardian of an
emancipated minor shall be free of the financial obligation to provide support to such