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  1. #1
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    Jan 2010
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    Exclamation 14 Year Old Runaway

    My question involves juvenile law in the State of: Massachusetts

    My question is out of curiosity of a friends situation. My friend, like tons of teens before her, no longer wants to live with her mom. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mother in Massachusetts and stays with her dad every other weekend in Connecticut.

    She states that she no longer wants to live in her parents care due to emotional and verbal abuse but is afraid to be a runaway because if she is forced to go back the consequences would leave her worse off. She, in no way, has any chance of being emancipated but does have a place to go. She also does NOT want to call CPS for any reason. Another friend spoke with their parents and they have said they would be willing to care for her if she needed a place to go.

    That being said I will finally get to my questions: If she does run away to live under someone's care could the state law force her to return home? She believes one parent, the mother who she lives with, may consent to her living under their care but the father will not. Since he has his legal rights as well would that cause a problem with her electing to her friends parents having guardianship even with the mothers consent? And also, if she doesn't get consent and just runs away will anyone be charged with harboring a runaway?

    Thank you very much for your help with this.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Of course the law could force her to return home. There is NO state where a 14 year old could leave home without the permission of her parents, or live anywhere that her parents do not give her permission to live.

    Unless BOTH parents agree to let her live elsewhere, she can be forced back home and the people who put her up would be in legal jeopardy, with a number of possible charges filed against them.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Oh good lord. ANYONE who harbors this child if she runs away may face CRIMINAL charges, and severe ones at that.

    Until she's legally able to leave home and fend for herself, Mom & Dad rule the roost and what they say goes; if they want her home, she goes home. It really is that simple.

    End of story. Even if.

    SHE certainly cannot change custody or arrange guardianship herself - she has no legal standing to do so.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    This might also seem like a silly question but I just dont want to see anyone in legal trouble. Would it not take BOTH parents consent to give guardianship to another individual that the child elected?

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
    View Post
    SHE certainly cannot change custody or arrange guardianship herself - she has no legal standing to do so.
    At her age she actually CAN elect a guardian, it's just a matter of the parents approval.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Quote Quoting dearbravesheep
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    This might also seem like a silly question but I just dont want to see anyone in legal trouble. Would it not take BOTH parents consent to give guardianship to another individual that the child elected?
    Yes.

    At her age she actually CAN elect a guardian, it's just a matter of the parents approval.

    In other words - SHE cannot change custody or arrange guardianship herself.

    Her PARENTS (or the courts, once in awhile) are able to do so.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
    View Post
    Yes.




    In other words - SHE cannot change custody or arrange guardianship herself.
    Since when did arranging guardianship not include electing a guardian? Are you an attorney?

  7. #7
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Are YOU an attorney?

    A 14 year old in MA (or, for that matter, any other state except for limited circumstances in GA) does NOT have the legal right to choose her own guardian. And it takes both parents because they both have legal custody of her. One parent cannot remove custody from the other parent by granting guardianship to third party - not without a court order.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Quote Quoting dearbravesheep
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    Since when did arranging guardianship not include electing a guardian? Are you an attorney?
    Let me try once more.

    She can absolutely choose someone to be her guardian.

    And this is completely worthless if her parents do not agree, hence "SHE cannot arrange guardianship herself".

    Make sense now?
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Yes I am an attorney that is exactly why I am posting a question on a forum to seek an answer from an attorney.

    And I did read somewhere (give me a moment to find the link) that at 14 a child may 'elect' a guardian and with parental consent from both sides achieving that is easy.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 14 Year Old Runaway

    Quote Quoting dearbravesheep
    View Post
    Yes I am an attorney that is exactly why I am posting a question on a forum to seek an answer from an attorney.

    And I did read somewhere (give me a moment to find the link) that at 14 a child may 'elect' a guardian and with parental consent from both sides achieving that is easy.


    I am not an attorney.

    And I would, frankly, expect MY attorney to know this stuff...
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

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