Emancipated Minors

Emancipated minors have the authority to make their own decisions regarding treatment, and parental consent is not required to treat these patients. Children become emancipated minors through marriage (including those who have been widowed or divorced), military service, and parenthood, or by demonstrating that they are independent and managing their own financial affairs. A 13-year-old girl who is living with her parents and becomes pregnant can be considered an emancipated minor for treatment of the pregnancy. Homeless minors, defined as children under age 18 years who are living apart from their parents in a supervised shelter or temporary accommodation, also have authority to give consent. Although financial independence is an important issue, a child may be an emancipated minor even if he or she is still obtaining financial support from parents, provided the child is independently managing his or her own financial affairs. Health care providers often rely in good faith on the minor's reasonable factual representation that he or she is emancipated. Children under age 18 may also receive a declaration of emancipation through the courts.

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