The age of majority in most states is 18, meaning you can move out without parental consent. However, moving out means your parents won’t be responsible for supporting you financially anymore, nor will you fall under their insurance umbrella.
Alabama and Nebraska are the two states that have set the age of majority at 19 and Mississippi at 21. Parents must continue supporting their children until they finish school, even after they turn 18. In Missouri, a teen can move out at 17, but parents are still responsible for them until they turn 18.
What are your legal options for moving out at 18 without parental consent?
Legal Age to Move Out: Parental Consent Not Required
The age when a teen reaches adulthood is also known as the age of majority. According to LegaMart, you are no longer a minor in most states when you turn 18. Even though the age of majority can differ between states or countries, 18 is the base legal age of adulthood.
Legal adulthood means you can vote, stand for nomination in a political party, and don’t require a legal guardian. You can also sign a contract and join the armed forces.
However, adulthood comes with certain responsibilities. These include being responsible for your actions. For example, if convicted of a crime, you face the same consequences as an adult.
Having a parent or someone else to mentor you through young adulthood is wise. But no one can stop you from moving out of your parental home at 18 if that’s what you want.
Understanding Your Rights: Moving Out at 18
When you are old enough, in most states, that’s 18, then you can leave home. If you are younger than 18, there are several legal ways to do it.
1. Legal Emancipation
You can seek legal emancipation from your parents before you reach the legal age of majority in your state. The process is not easy, but once a court grants an order because it’s in your best interest, you have the same responsibilities as a grown-up. Your parents won’t have to provide any more financial or other support.
A married teen can leave home before 18 without their parents consenting
3. Military Service
When teens enlist in the military, they legally become emancipated from their parents.
4. Guardianship Transfer
Another way to legally leave home before you reach the age of majority is to transfer legal guardianship to another adult from your parents temporarily. If the parents disagree with transferring custody to someone else, a petition is filed in court to demonstrate the move is in the teen’s best interests. The process is easier if everyone agrees. Otherwise, these cases tend to be lengthy. Once a guardian is appointed, they have the same responsibilities as a parent to care for the teen, including financially. However, parental rights don’t end when guardianship gets transferred since the parents may have to contribute financially toward their child’s care.
5. Custody Agreement Modification
When the teen’s parents are divorced, the teen can ask to move in with the non-custodial parent. In that case, they request a modification of the custody agreement. The process is simpler when both parents agree and file a custody modification with the court.
If there isn’t agreement, then a petition is filed to the court by the non-custodial parent, and the judge looks at what is in the teen’s best interests.
Steps to Take Before Moving Out at 18
If you are looking forward to setting your own rules and going out whenever you want without curfews, it’s best to be well-prepared before moving out at 18.
Once you move out, you might not have parental restrictions, but you lose the protection you have had from your parents or guardian. If you are unprepared, moving out and fending for yourself can be a shock. Here are the steps required to help make the transition into adulthood smoother:
1. Include Your Parents in Your Plans
You can consider moving out at 18 without parental consent, but it’s only suitable that you discuss your plans with your parents. Explain why you want to leave your parental home and how you plan to sustain yourself. With their support and blessing, you can make the transition much smoother, and they may even offer you some financial support as you start your new life away from them.
2. Plan Ahead
If you fail to make plans, your move may fail, meaning you might have to move back in again. Moving out of the parental home at 18 means you will have complete responsibility for all your needs for the first time in your life.
Therefore, you must meet the costs for shelter (including a security deposit of two months and the first rental), food, clothing, utility bills, and entertainment. Unless you have a means of moving your possessions, you must also consider how you will transport them to your new home, especially if you are moving to another city or state.
It’s critical to consider where you will stay and budget for all the above moving and living expenses by finding an income. Planning at least six months to a year before gives you enough time to save some money with a side hustle. It would help if you also secured an income by finding work.
3. Build Your Credit Score
Landlords require a good credit score before accepting you as a tenant. A good credit history will allow you to apply for a credit card and secure better rates. It’s not too difficult to get a good credit score, even if you are only 18, but you must start building it by showing responsibility. If your parents have authorized you to use their credit card and they have a solid credit history, it will reflect positively on your credit score, making it easier for you to apply. A secured credit card is another way to help build your credit score, and they are pretty easy to get. Remember that when you get a credit card, you must pay it back monthly to maintain your credit score.
4. Earn an Income
Moving out at 18 without parental consent means financial responsibilities, even if you plan to continue your education. Start earning money with a part-time job or side hustle if you are studying.
5. Secure Your Accommodation
Whether you plan to move alone or with a roommate, you must hunt for a home in a suitable neighborhood. Having a roommate does bring down the cost of renting and utilities because you can share them.
If you are interested in sharing an apartment but don’t have a friend ready to move out of their parental home yet, look online at portals like Roomster or Roommates.
6. Prepare for Moving Day
Deciding to move out at 18 without parental consent means removing yourself from an environment where you are familiar and with people you know. As determined as you are to move out, it’s not unusual to have misgivings on the day. It’s good to prepare yourself psychologically beforehand to make the transition easier.
If you cannot talk to family about your reservations, a friend or counselor can help resolve your feelings. Settling in may seem difficult initially, but it gets easier once you familiarize yourself with your new home and neighborhood.
Financial Considerations for Moving Out at 18
Financial stability is vital when you are entirely responsible for your expenses. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Build an Emergency Fund – Start building an emergency fund form before you leave your parental home to ensure you can meet unexpected expenses. Building an emergency fund takes commitment and budgeting. Once you have worked out your budget, make sure that you create a cash lump sum by saving as much as you can. A general rule is to have at least three months’ income in your emergency fund.
- Don’t Overlook Additional Expenses – When creating your budget, don’t forget that it’s not only accommodation, food, clothing, and entertainment costs that you must cover. Young people often forget about the additional costs like electricity, mobile phone, heating expenses, other utilities, travel costs, and saving towards an emergency fund. It would help if you also determined how much your move will cost. Planning your budget means considering all these and working out how to make ends meet with your income. It may mean you have to consider taking on a roommate or moving into an area with lower rentals.
- Debt repayment – If you plan to study on a student loan, you must take extra care when working out your budget plan. As a young person living alone, you should consider a 50/30/15/5 plan, meaning that you cover your needs with 50% of your income, your wants with 30%, pay off your loans with 15%, and save 5%.
Seeking Support: Resources for Young Adults Moving Out at 18
Moving from adolescence into young adulthood is a massive transition as you become independent and adjust to the responsibilities. The change can often create difficulty in working through your feelings. In some people, it can cause a mental health problem like anxiety or trigger an existing one.
You don’t need to feel that you don’t have support, even if you don’t have health insurance yet. The Moving into Adulthood Resource Center has several fantastic resources that can help you determine if you need help and where to find it in your community.
Another fantastic resource for young adults leaving home for the first time is this one from Online Counseling Programs. You can find help caring for your mind and body, finances, home, work, and relationships here.
Making a Smooth Transition: Tips for Moving Out at 18
Moving out of your parental home without their consent is expensive. Making a smooth transition requires preparing the way. Here are the most critical tips in short for moving out at 18.
- Make a budget and open a bank account
- Set up an emergency fund because life often brings unexpected expense
- Plan your income by finding a job and maybe a side hustle
- Work toward getting a good credit score so that you can qualify for credit
- Research your costs, remembering to add a security deposit for your accommodation, furniture, and transportation
- Put your existing bills in your name, including any insurance and your mobile phone
- Look for freebies online and bargain hunt for furniture, food, clothes, etc.
Exploring Housing Options for 18-year-olds
It’s tough to search for a place to rent after you have left home, leaving you reliant on others or vulnerable. Therefore, finding a space to live long-term before putting your plans in motion is best.
If you prioritize this before leaving home, exploring housing options need not be too difficult for 18-year-olds. Here are some tips:
- Ask friends or family if they know of a place in the area where you plan to move to.
- Search online for websites dedicated to renting real estate.
- Find a real estate agent or property management firm where you plan to move since they have a list of suitable places.
- Ask your college for their recommended student housing solutions if you’re a student.
- Consider finding potential roommates to share expenses or find someone looking for a roommate.
- Have a date for when you plan to move into your new home
Embracing Independence: Challenges and Rewards of Moving Out at 18
There are certainly challenges to moving out at 18 without parental consent. These include facing your parents’ anger, losing their parental support and the familiarity of home, and ensuring you are financially prepared. No matter how ready you are, it can also be an emotional experience.
However, if you feel the time has come to move, for whatever your reasons, you are sure to enjoy the rewards too. These include gaining your independence and privacy, especially if you feel you are tired of constant fighting and living by the rules of others.
Moving into a city or apartment community can help enhance your social life, mainly if you previously lived in the suburbs, and bring you closer to a convenient location for your work and social life.
If you have decided that the time has come to embrace independence, you are ready to meet the challenges and rewards of moving out at 18, even without parental consent.