We asked the members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their stories about being emancipated from their parents as a teenager. Here are some of their stories:
Warning: This post contains mentions of abuse.
1. "I was told by my adoptive parent that as soon as I found a place, I'd be able to move out. I was 17 and a junior in high school. I told her I'd be out by that weekend, and I was. My adoptive brother and his wonderful wife let me stay with them for a bit. I ended up getting my GED. I was so happy to leave, it was like early parole. I'm in my late 40s and haven't talked to the family since I was 19. While I missed seeing my nephews grow up, I needed to leave for my sanity's sake. I'm disabled, fully in pain, and in a chair but happy with my life. It was an adoption from hell, and it benefited everyone for me to go. Surprisingly enough, I now live with my birth mom because I need help day-to-day."
2. "My mom was abusive and moved us across the country without letting our family know where she was taking us. She cut off all communication, took away our phones, and would hide the house phone. I promise, her reasons were not justified. We would be locked in our rooms and she would do so many other things. I was 15, and in Canada you can legally live independently at 16. Four months before my 16th birthday, I used a friend's phone to ask my dad for money. I booked a plane ticket, and 24 hours later I was back across Canada, away from my mom and safe. The police were called, but due to laws and the fact that I was willing to reenroll in high school and had a family to live with, they saw no reason to make me go back. It was a Hail Mary and such a huge risk, but I would have died if I had stayed with my mom."
3. "I was emancipated as an early teen but wasn't told until I was an adult. I was raised by my grandma my whole life, but she never officially gained custody. I later learned that my mom actually helped emancipate me so I could continue living with my grandma without legal hoops. I didn't find out until my early 20s, but I don't think I would've acted differently had I known earlier, since I was a pretty good kid. It was pretty shocking to learn that my grandma was not actually signing for my field trip waivers or doctor's appointments and whatnot!"
4. "I got emancipated when I was 16. My mom was out of the picture and my dad had remarried, and I couldn’t seem to find my place. I met a boy and traveled around the country for a while selling magazines door-to-door. Pros: teenage adventure. Cons: too many to name, but I wish I’d taken advantage of getting a free education when it was available. Life is amazing 25 years later."
5. "I was kicked out of my house at 15. I spent the next 20 years going from place to place, never settling anywhere and barely having any contact with my parents. I couldn't forgive them for not being there for me. My dad, who was the only one who really loved me, died on Christmas Day. He wanted to see me before he died, and I wasn't there for him. I went from not being able to forgive them to never being able to forgive myself for not speaking to him before he died."
6. "While I was never legally emancipated, I was essentially on my own starting around 16 in an apartment with some roommates. My parents divorced when I was 5, and my dad suffered a debilitating stroke when I was 9, so I was primarily raised by my mom. She was always a bit of a functioning alcoholic, but she developed a severe addiction to crack when I was in middle school. My mom got Social Security checks every month because of my dad's condition, but they would always go to her habit. By the time I was in high school, living at home was a nightmare. I dropped out of school early in my junior year and got my GED through night school while I worked at a pizza place during the day. I petitioned the Social Security office to send the checks directly to me at the place I was able to rent with a few older friends."
"I babysat the landlord's granddaughter and she was aware of my situation, so she let me on the lease. Two years after I left home, my mom was arrested on multiple felonies and went to jail. My younger sister was still living at home and was home when the police raided the house. She had to go live with our older half sister until she turned 18. Once I was away from my mom, I was a lot happier. I had been suffering with depression and PTSD, and being in control of my life felt liberating, but I still deal with the guilt of leaving my sister. However, I was able to get into community college, and my good grades there allowed me to transfer to a private liberal arts college where I finished my degree. Fast-forward 20 years to now: I'm a successful freelance writer living my best life."
7. "When I was 17 years old, they still treated me like I was 9. They constantly monitored me, searched my room, and listened in on my phone calls. They waited up to make sure I was home by 'curfew.' They watched what I was eating and judged me on it. If I did anything against their rules, I was beaten. They decided whether my girlfriend was acceptable or not. They expected me to work but would randomly not allow me to go out. They didn't allow me to drive. I moved out at 18 after a big blowup with my father. I was big enough and strong enough that he never laid a hand on me again."
8. "My parents divorced when I was 10. My dad cheated on Mom, so my mom went off and wanted to live her life with a new boyfriend. I was raised mostly by my dad, and he was drunk one morning in fifth grade and threw up on me before I walked to school. The counselor called me in thinking that I had a drinking problem at 11 years old and labeled me a 'juvie kid.' I started working at a restaurant bar at 14, graduated from high school at 16, went to college, and got emancipated so both my mom and dad would stop fighting over child support payments. I have great relationships with them now. We all get together for holidays, but I'm legally not entitled to an inheritance unless a will states so, but hey, they can keep their debt."
9. "At 11 days after my 17th birthday in 1984, I was emancipated to enter the US Army. After many foster homes and being adopted three times, I figured I'd rather put up with a drill sergeant than my abusive adoptive family and get a paycheck."
10. "I was emancipated at 15, but it was actually to help my mom. My mother was a single mom, with her two youngest still at home. She had seven kids total. My brother was 17 and completely erratic. He refused to go to school, ever. Wouldn't hold down a job and disappeared for days at a time. I was the opposite. I was always at school, already had my first job, and took care of the house and chores. But my mom was not only dealing with my brother's stuff but was also working three separate jobs just to make ends meet. I was lucky to see her an hour or two a day, and she was always exhausted. I knew if she could move to a much smaller place, she could be happy and quit at least one of her jobs to feel a little more normal. I approached her, saying I could get emancipated. My sister, who lived in a town with her fiancé, offered me a room for a small amount of rent each month that I could afford with my part-time job. At first my mom was super resistant."
"She felt she'd failed as a parent, and I told her it was the opposite. She had been a hardworking single mom for years to seven kids and was my inspiration. She was truly a wonderful mother, and I wanted her to feel like she could breathe for once. She finally agreed, and I was emancipated right before my 16th birthday. She was able to go down to one job and a smaller, more affordable place and finally went to nursing school (her dream). She has now been working as a traveling nurse and is more independent and makes more money than she ever has. I had no problem taking on being a legal adult and even had my first apartment at 17. I'm now 31, have three great kids, and don't regret it in the least. And Mom is still the best mom I could ask for."
11. "When I was 15 years old, my mom kicked me out of the house and I went to stay with my older brother and his wife and their two children at their house. My brother asked me to do some things that I really didn’t like doing, like lie to his wife about his excessive drinking, so I decided to leave my brother's place after a year and move in with my boyfriend at the time. So my mom and dad found out about this and didn’t like the fact that I had moved in with my boyfriend because they never really liked him. In hindsight, I wish I had listened to them about this guy, but when you’re young and dumb, you know everything, and I figured, what was I supposed to do, because they kicked me out."
"I found out after moving in with my boyfriend at the time that I would not be able to ride the school bus to my original school because it was outside of that district. I didn’t have a vehicle, and my boyfriend had a full-time job and was unable to take me to and from school, so I had to transfer schools. But my parents didn’t see it that way, and because they were upset with the choices that I was making, they decided to refuse to transfer me and offered zero support as far as how I should get back and forth to school without a place to live within that district. So after missing like 21 days of school in one month, I finally spoke with the school counselor to explain what was going on. They filed for the paperwork to emancipate me, and everything was approved within a couple of days. At that point, I was able to withdraw from my school and enroll myself at the school where my boyfriend and I lived, and I was able to ride the bus and continue going to school. However, I actually stopped going to school after about a week of that and ended up getting my GED a couple of years later."
12. And finally: "My mom never really had a hand in raising me. I mean, there was food, a bed, and a roof over my head, but the rest was provided by my friends' moms. I walked to all of my band and choir performances or begged other members of the group to ask their parents for a ride. If I ever missed the bus, that was on me to get home. When I was 16, my mom told me she was done raising me and completely stopped providing for me financially (though she still accepted child support till I was 24). Then, when I turned 17, emancipation was just a legal formality."
"I was already basically living with my boyfriend of a year. I managed to graduate from high school and hold two jobs to live on my own after I broke it off with him, knowing he and I weren't a good fit. To this day, I know my three siblings and I all got a different mom. She told me she was jealous of me because I take chances. What she has never fully admitted is that I am just a reminder of her failures. I am proof of her divorce, and many of her friends have pointed out that she sees me as a product of that."
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.