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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2

    Exclamation 17-Year-Old Wants to Leave Home

    My question involves juvenile law in the State of: Arkansas and Missouri

    I have a friend who is 17, but will be 18 in 4 months. She is currently living with her mother in Missouri (has been for a couple months this time), but her father in Arkansas actually has custody of her.

    She is planning on moving to another part of Missouri where I have a job opening for her that includes lodging. I've already rode with her (did not take her) to the city where she will be relocating to and she enrolled in school.

    I know that in Missouri, girls can legally leave home at 17, but I have no idea about Arkansas law or if it even applies in this situation. She loves her mother, but it has never worked out for her to stay there for very long because they start fighting and her step-mother (who isn't living with her dad right now, but still comes around all the time) has been abusive to her in the past.

    I am just wanting to help my friend, but I don't want either of us to get into trouble. I am over 21 and a resident of Missouri. Please let me know if they can make her return or if I will be in any kind of trouble!!! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    15,992

    Default Re: 17 Yr-Old Leaving Home in Arkansas/Missouri

    I know that in Missouri, girls can legally leave home at 17
    No, they cannot. They can be tried as an adult if they commit a crime at the age of 17 - that's when Juvi court jurisdiction ends - but the age of majority in Missouri is 18.

    Your friend cannot move out without parental permission until she's 18.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2

    Lightbulb Re: 17 Year-Old Leaving Home in Arkansas/Missouri

    I do know that they can in fact leave at 17 in Missouri, because a friend of mine had a daughter that did this and she went to the law to try and get her back. They said that she did have a legal right to live on her own at 17, but, since she was not yet an adult, that her mother was still resposible for her. In short, in Missouri, yes, girls can move out at 17, but you cannot kick them out and if they get into any trouble, you (legal guardian) are the one responsible!!

    Also, when she registered herself in school in Missouri, they told her that they know that she can live on her own since she is 17!

    Kind of a crazy set of laws if you ask me! (I feel sorry for some parents!) However, I am still looking for the answer as to if Arkansas is the same and if she is even legally still a resident of Arkansas since she has lived in Missouri for over 60 days and has a Missouri i.d. Just want to know if anyone can actually get into trouble during these last 4 months before she turns 18.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,823

    Default Re: 17-Year-Old Wants to Leave Home

    Well, the age of majority is still 18 in Missouri, but for Amber Alerts, it's anyone under the age of 17.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    15,992

    Default Re: 17-Year-Old Wants to Leave Home

    Read this. Aaron is an attorney, and a good one. He explains your misconception well.

    The law defining age of majority - the age you are legally an adult and may move out without your parents' permission - is here.

    She is not legally able to move out. Thanks to a loophole in MO law, many teens that do move out do not get properly hauled back home by law enforcement. That in no way means that she can (or should) move out.

    The much, much larger problem here is that her father has legal custody of her.

    For the purposes of education, at least, the state of Missouri considers the minor child a resident of the state in which the parent holding legal custody resides.

    The age of majority in Arkansas - for both civil and judicial matters - is 18. Full stop, no loopholes. Her father can make life very miserable for you.

    Your friend needs to wait the four months until she is legally recognized as an adult. Unless you'd like to deal with the legal mess that will surely ensue when her father catches wind of all of this?
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

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