HB574 (2019) Detail

Relative to the emancipation of minors.




19Mar2019... 1032h







AN ACT relative to the emancipation of minors.


SPONSORS: Rep. Rice, Hills. 37; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. Reagan, Dist 17


COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law






This bill establishes a judicial procedure for the emancipation of minors and provides that child support shall terminate upon a minor's emancipation.


The bill is a request of the committee to study emancipation of minors, established in 2018, 297 (HB 1377).


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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

19Mar2019... 1032h 19-0565





In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen


AN ACT relative to the emancipation of minors.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


110:1  New Chapter; Emancipation.  Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 461-A the following new chapter:



461-B:1  Definitions.  In this chapter:

I.  "Minor" means a person who is under 18 years of age.

II.  "Court" means the judicial branch family division, unless otherwise indicated.

461-B:2  Jurisdiction.

I.  The court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all proceedings determining whether a minor should be emancipated in whole or in part.

II.  The court may retain jurisdiction over the emancipated minor prior to the minor's eighteenth birthday.

III.  The court shall close the case when the minor reaches the age of 18.

461-B:3  Venue.

I.  Proceedings under this chapter may be originated in any judicial district in which the minor is found or resides.

II.  By the court upon its own motion or that of any party, proceedings under this chapter may, upon notice and acceptance, be transferred to another judicial district as the interests of justice or convenience of the parties may require.

461-B:4  Petition for Limited Emancipation.

I.  A minor who is 16 years of age or older may petition the court for an order granting limited emancipation to the youth.

II.  The petition shall include, in writing:

(a)  The name and address of the minor.

(b)  The names and addresses of:

(1)  The parents of the minor;

(2)  Any legal guardians of the minor; or

(3)  If no parent or guardian can be found, the last-known address of the minor's parent or guardian and the name and address of the minor's nearest known relative residing in the state.

(c)  Specific facts as to why emancipation is sought.

(d)  Specific facts in support of the emancipation criteria set forth in RSA 461-B:8.

461-B:5  Burden of Proof.  The petitioner has the burden to prove the allegations in support of the petition by clear and convincing evidence.

461-B:6  Issuance of Summons and Notice.

I.  After a legally sufficient petition has been filed, the court shall schedule a hearing and issue notice, including a copy of the petition, to be served personally upon the parent or guardian of the minor.

II.  If personal service is not possible, service shall occur at the usual place of abode of the parent or guardian of the minor.

III.  Notice should be served on interested parties within 20 days of the petition being filed.

IV.  The notice shall include the date and place of hearing and a form on which the minor's parent, legal guardian, or other person entitled to the custody of the minor may give the person's written consent to the limited emancipation.

461-B:7  Hearing.

I.  The court shall hold a hearing within 30 days of the filing of a petition under this section or within 10 days of service of notice upon the interested parties, whichever occurs later.

II.  The time frame established in this section may be extended for an additional 10 days upon motion by any interested party for good cause.

III.  In any proceeding under this chapter the court shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence and may admit evidence which it considers relevant and material.

461-B:8  Disposition.

I.  Limited emancipation may be granted only if the court has found:

(a)  Limited emancipation is in the minor's best interest;

(b)  The minor desires limited emancipation;

(c)  The minor has lived separate and apart from his or her parents or legal guardian for 3 months or longer;

(d)  The minor has demonstrated the ability to be self-sufficient in his or her financial and personal affairs, including proof of employment or other means of support.  "Other means of support" shall not include receipt of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or municipal general assistance;

(e)  The minor has graduated or will continue to diligently pursue graduation from high school or a high school equivalency certificate; and

(f)  There exists no public interest compelling denial of limited emancipation.

II.  If it is considered necessary by the court, the minor shall participate in periodic counseling with an appropriate advisor of the minor's choosing.

III.  An order of limited emancipation shall specifically set forth in writing the rights and responsibilities that are being conferred upon the minor.  These may include but are not limited to one or more of the following:

(a)  The right to live independently.

(b)  The right to live in housing of the minor's choice.

(c)  The right to directly receive and expend money to which the minor is entitled and to conduct the minor's own financial affairs.

(d)  The right to enter into contractual agreements and incur debts.

(e)  The right to consent to medical psychiatric, education, and social services.

(f)  The right to obtain a license to operate equipment or perform a service.

(g)  The right to enlist in the military.

IV.  An order of limited emancipation may include a provision requiring that the youth make periodic reports to the court.

V.  An emancipated minor shall not be considered an adult for:

(a)  Constitutional and statutory age requirements regarding voting, use and possession of tobacco and alcoholic beverages, possession of firearms, gambling, or other health and safety regulations relevant to the minor because of the minor's age; or

(b)  Purposes of the adult criminal laws except cases transferred to the superior court pursuant to RSA 169-B:24.

VI.  An emancipated minor with the enumerated right to live independently shall not be considered a minor child pursuant to RSA 173-B.

461-B:9  Modification of Order.

I.  The court, on its own motion or the motion of any parties to the dispositional hearing, may modify or revoke the emancipation order upon a showing that:

(a)  The minor has committed a material violation of the law;

(b)  The minor has violated a condition of the limited emancipation order; or

(c)  The best interests of the minor are no longer served by the emancipation order.

II.  Modification or revocation of a previous order of emancipation shall be effective only prospectively and contractual obligations validly entered into during the period of emancipation shall remain in effect.

461-B:10  Court Sessions; Access to Information.  All hearings shall be held separate from the trial of criminal cases and such hearings shall be held wherever possible in rooms not used for such trials.  Only such persons as the parties, their witnesses and counsel and representatives of the agencies present to perform their official duties shall be admitted.

461-B:11  Court Records.  The court records of proceedings under this chapter other than a final order of emancipation shall be kept in books and files separate from all other court records.  Such records shall be withheld from public inspection but shall be open to inspection by juvenile probation and parole officers, a parent, a guardian, and the minor's attorney.  Additional access to court records may be granted by court order or upon the written consent of the minor.

461-B:12  Appeals.  An appeal under this chapter may be taken to the superior court by the minor, parent, guardian, or custodian, within 30 days of the final dispositional order, but an appeal shall not suspend the order or decision of the court unless the court so orders.  The superior court shall hear the matter de novo, and shall give an appeal under this chapter priority on the court calendar.

110:2  Parental Rights and Responsibilities; Termination of Child Support; Emancipation Added.  Amend RSA 461-A:14, IV to read as follows:

IV.  The amount of a child support obligation shall remain as stated in the order until the dependent child for whom support is ordered completes his or her high school education or reaches the age of 18 years, whichever is later, or marries, or becomes a member of the armed services, or is emancipated pursuant to an order of emancipation under RSA 461-B, at which time the child support obligation, including all educational support obligations, terminates without further legal action.  If the parties have a child with disabilities, the court may initiate or continue the child support obligation after the child reaches the age of 18.  No child support order for a child with disabilities which becomes effective after July 9, 2013 may continue after the child reaches age 21.

110:3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2020.


Approved: June 21, 2019

Effective Date: January 01, 2020




HB574 at GenCourtMobile
HB574 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
March 6, 2019 House Hearing
March 13, 2019 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 19, 2019 House Floor Vote
April 9, 2019 Senate Hearing
April 25, 2019 Senate Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB574 Revision: 6413 Date: Dec. 3, 2019, 10:04 a.m.
HB574 Revision: 5774 Date: April 25, 2019, 10:41 a.m.
HB574 Revision: 5593 Date: March 19, 2019, 3:17 p.m.
HB574 Revision: 4871 Date: Jan. 15, 2019, 2:29 p.m.


Date Status
Jan. 3, 2019 Introduced 01/03/2019 and referred to Children and Family Law HJ 3 P. 20
March 6, 2019 Public Hearing: 03/06/2019 11:00 am LOB 207
March 13, 2019 Executive Session: 03/13/2019 10:00 am LOB 206-208
Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2019-1032h (Vote 19-0; CC)
March 19, 2019 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2019-1032h for 03/19/2019 (Vote 19-0; CC) HC 16 P. 4
March 19, 2019 Amendment # 2019-1032h: AA VV 03/19/2019 HJ 10 P. 4
March 19, 2019 Ought to Pass with Amendment 2019-1032h: MA VV 03/19/2019 HJ 10 P. 4
March 28, 2019 Introduced 03/28/2019 and Referred to Judiciary; SJ 12
April 9, 2019 Hearing: 04/09/2019, Room 100, SH, 10:35 am; SC 17
April 25, 2019 Committee Report: Ought to Pass, 04/25/2019; SC 19
April 25, 2019 Ought to Pass: MA, VV; OT3rdg; 04/25/2019; SJ 14
May 2, 2019 Enrolled (In recess 05/02/2019); SJ 16
May 8, 2019 Enrolled 05/08/2019 HJ 15 P. 100
June 21, 2019 Signed by Governor Sununu 06/21/2019; Chapter 110; Eff: 01/01/2020