Emancipation of Minors

Posted in: Family Law


Emancipation of minors is a legal mechanism. It is how a minor is freed from control by their parents or guardians. Basically becoming of age early. Of course, also the parents or guardians are freed from responsibility toward the child. Emancipation allows the child to legally make decisions on their own behalf.

The latest law on this issue in Spain is Article 53 of the Law 15/2015 of 2nd July on Voluntary Jurisdiction or Non Contentious Proceedings. A minor over 16 years old can make an application to the Judge of the local Court. This is local to the current address of the minor i.e. where they live now.

Emancipation of minors or being released from parental authority needs the following circumstances met:

  • the parent who is actively acting as parent, marries or becomes a common law partner of someone different from the child’s other parent,
  • the parents live separately,
  • if situation arises which drastically prevents parental authority being exercised. Such as the child (16/17) moving out to live with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

It is also possible for a child to make an application to a Judge of the local Court. In order to hear an application for emancipation of minors. Or for them being allowed to make legal decisions themselves if they are currently being taken care of by a guardian.

It is not a legal obligation to have a lawyer or a barrister for these proceedings. Unless an objection to the application is lodged with the Court. In this case, a lawyer is mandatory, but it is obviously usually advisable.


The proceeding requires an application to the court by the minor. The minor must be over 16 years of age. Also present there must be a parent whose parental authority is in force, or their guardian. If the minor does not have these present, then the Court appoints a guardian to request the proceeding. The public prosecutor represents and defends the minor. This is until a guardian is appointed by the Court.

The application should include documents proving the circumstances as to why emancipation or legal age is being requested. For example, if parents are divorcing. And they wish to pass their property to their child rather than to one or the other. Thus they wish them to be recognised as of legal age early, so that the minor can accept an early inheritance.


  1. Once the court has accepted the application, the child and the parents or guardian are required to appear before a Judge. An explanation of the circumstances will be heard.
  2. The judge, after making an evaluation, decides on whether to grant or refuse the application for emancipation or becoming of age early. They will assess what is best for the child.
  3. If accepted, then a certified copy of the grant of emancipation or approval of becoming of legal age will sent to the relevant register office. This is for registration, so that they will be able to prove this when required.

Although not a common procedure, emancipation of minors occasionally is required due to certain circumstances. If we can assist with this or a similar matter, (please see our page regarding family law) , then contact us directly for assistance.