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Many young adults become self-sufficient at a young age. Young adults are not allowed to make their own legal decisions or enter into contracts until they turn eighteen years old unless they are legally emancipated by a court.

In Iowa, young adults who are at least sixteen years of age may become emancipated if they can demonstrate self-sufficiency by showing the Court:

  • proof of employment (that does not include government assistance programs),
  • proof the young adult can handle their own personal affairs and
  • proof the young adult is committed to furthering their education  by either going to a school/training program or they are committed to their job.

Additionally, the young adult must have a plan to reside outside the home of their parent/guardian by:

  • the parents agreeing to let the young adult live on his or her own
  • the parents agreeing to let the young adult live out of the family home or the young adult has been living outside of the family home for at least three months on their own, OR
  • the young adult can give reasons why the home of the parents or guardian is not a health risk or safe environment.

Any youth involved in the child welfare system (Child in Need of Assistance) is unable to be legally emancipated.

If you are interested in knowing if you would qualify for emancipation, please call our legal hotline at: 1-800-728-1172.

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