What is emancipation?
Any minor who is sixteen (16) years of age or older and who is a resident of the state of Washington may petition for a declaration of emancipation in Cowlitz County Superior Court. (please see RCW 13.64.010).
Criteria for filing for emancipation are that the minor demonstrate the ability to manage his/her own financial, social and personal affairs.
To print a downloadable document listing all pertinent emancipation RCW's, please CLICK HERE.
What is the procedure?
Juvenile Department staff will refer a minor requesting emancipation information to the Cowlitz County Superior Court Clerk's Office, second floor of the Hall of Justice, located at 312 S. 1st West, Kelso. There they will be able to obtain the petition form and instructions for filing an emancipation petition. At the time of filing the petition at the Clerk's Office, the minor must be prepared to pay a $50 filing fee and should be prepared to pay a $150 investigation fee to the Juvenile Department.
The Clerk's Office will set a hearing date approximately 60 days from the date of the filing of the petition. They will also appoint the Juvenile Court as the minor's Guardian ad Litem to prepare a report to the court. Once the petition is filed, the minor may then come to the Juvenile Department with the receipt showing payment of the filing fee and pay the $150 investigation fee.
Once the investigation fee is paid, Juvenile Department staff will notify the petitioner's parents and/or guardians that the minor is seeking emancipation and will interview these and other significant adults to determine the suitability of the emancipation.
A report containing a recommendation will then be prepared for the court. On the date of the hearing, a Judge will render his/her decision on whether or not the minor should be emancipated.