Q:

What rights do parents have when a 17 year old child leaves home?

A:

Parents rights over 17-year-old children who have left home vary from state-to-state, according to LawRefs.com. For example, in Alabama, parents may call the police for assistance in bringing their runaway child back home. In Michigan, however, parents have very few rights over a 17-year-old child who has left home.

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Parents should check their state's laws regarding juvenile runaways to determine their rights. In Georgia, if a child leaves home without his parents' consent he may be breaking the law as a "status offender" or a "deprived child." Georgia law states that a child without proper parental supervision, support, education, or other control to maintain physical, emotional or moral health is legally deprived. A 17-year-old is a status offender in Georgia if he does not attend school, runs away from home, or is unruly. These laws grant parents the legal right to demand that their runaway child returns home.

In Michigan, a 17-year-old is legally neither an adult nor a child. The age of maturity in Michigan is 18, however the laws regarding runaways only apply to children under 17. Parents are legally liable to support their child until he reaches 18, but they have little control over a 17-year-old who chooses to leave home. In Michigan, parents cannot receive the police department's assistance in bringing a 17-year-old back home, says LawRefs.com.

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