NH Law About... Emancipation of Minors

Introduction to... Emancipation of Minors

Posted October 29, 2012. Revised October 15, 2013

Searching the Revised Statutes Online

Below is a sampling of possible keyword searches of the Revised Statutes Online if you're looking for definitions of "adult" and "minor" and related terms. Definition sections of statutes often start with the phrase: "[topic] means" (as in "adult means.") Just to keep things interesting, the legislature sometimes says "shall mean" or uses other variations. You can use the NEAR (~) connector but it's a broad query and will turn up many irrelevant results. Keyword suggestions: "age of majority," "adult," "child" "minor," "emancipated," "unemancipated," and "youth."

The subject index of the NH RSAs has many headings that are related to children and minors, for example: "age," "children and minors," "juvenile delinquents," "child labor," and "children in need of services." Many jobs and other activities have age requirements and a search under "age" will find those statutes. To find definitions of terms, look at the "words and phrases" heading in the index. You will be referred to statutes that define your term.

The Statutes in Print

Online may be more convenient but the print version of the statutes is one of the best ways to find New Hampshire case law. The "Annotations" following the statutes are references to cases interpreting or applying the statute.  If there's an annotation that seems helpful, use the the New Hampshire Reports in print or online to pull up the entire case.

The “Read About …” section of this guide refers to resources about the law and will provide context and key terms. “Read the Law …” links to selected laws on the emancipation of minors and should be used as a jumping off point for further research. “For More Help…” provides links to legal information programs, libraries, and legal assistance. 

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ...  is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.  

Read about... Emancipation of Minors


New Hampshire Legal Aid. Emancipation.

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

"Emancipation is a term which means becoming free of control by another. Usually, when people talk about emancipation, they are talking about the emancipation of a minor. A minor is said to be emancipated when s/he becomes independent from parents or guardians." ...   GO>

Legal Information Institute. Emancipation of minors

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

"All states have laws dealing with the "emancipation" of minors; that is, laws that specify when and under what conditions children become independent of their parents for important legal purposes." ...   GO>


Emancipation in Family law / by Charles G. Douglas. LexisNexis, Matthew Bender, 2002. 3rd ed.

Chapter 16. Section 16.08 " ... a child is below the age of majority but has his or her own means of support and lives alone, the child is said to be 'emancipated.'"   GO>

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

Children and the law in a nutshell / by Sarah H. Ramsey, Douglas E. Abrams. Thomson/West, c2003. 2nd ed.  GO>

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

Legal rights of children / by Donald T. Kramer. Thomson/West, c2005. 2nd ed. rev.   GO>

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

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Read the law about... Emancipation of Minors


RSA 21:44. Age of Majority; Adults  GO>

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

RSA 21-B. Common Law Rule Abrogated. Age of Majority Changed; Recognition of Emancipation Decrees from Other States  GO>

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

RSA 354-B. Civil Rights Act  GO>

Link verified on: October 15, 2013

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: July 31, 2015

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


20 U.S.C. 1087vv(d). Independent Student Defined   GO>

Link verified on: October 4, 2013

29 U.S.C. 201 et seq. Fair Labor Standards  GO>

Link verified on: October 4, 2013


121 N.H. 670 (1981). Dingley v. Dingley

Link verified on: October 4, 2013

"The issue in this case is whether the parties' son, who is a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy and who receives substantial financial assistance therefrom, is "emancipated" for purposes of a divorce decree requiring the defendant to pay the plaintiff child support until the parties' children reach age twenty-one or are emancipated, whichever occurs first."   GO>

135 N.H. 67 (1991). Concord Group Ins. Companies v. Sleeper

Link verified on: October 4, 2013

"Emancipation is never presumed; rather, the person asserting it has the burden of proving that the child is indeed emancipated. 59 AM. JUR. 2d, supra sec. 85. Moreover, it is the parents' intent that governs whether a child has been emancipated, and with the few exceptions of entering into marriage or military service, emancipation may not be accomplished by an act of the child alone. 59 AM. JUR .2d, supra sec. 80, 83-85."   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: July 17, 2015

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Case Law: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>


Lab 1000. Youth Employment  GO>

Link verified on: October 15, 2013



Link verified on: July 17, 2015

Volunteer attorneys are available to answer legal questions through LawLine, a free service of the NH Bar Association. LawLine is held on the SECOND Wednesday of each month from 6:00 p.m. ~ 8:00 p.m. To reach LawLine, call (toll free) 800-868-1212.   GO>

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