How to Disown Your Family

Two Methods:Disowning Your Family as a MinorDisowning Your Family as an Adult

Is your family abusive, destructive or dysfunctional? The decision to disown your family isn't an easy one to make, but in some cases cutting ties is the best way to move forward from a painful past and protect yourself, your children and your property from future harm. Depending on your age and situation (and where you live in the world), you may be able to take legal measures to keep your family at bay.

Method 1
Disowning Your Family as a Minor

  1. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 1
    Consider calling Child Protective Services. If you're under 18 and you feel you're living in a dangerous situation, contact your state's Child Protective Services for help. The most important first step is to get to a place of safety. Once you're removed from your family's household, CPS will help you determine how to proceed in order to make sure your family won't be able to harm you.
    • If you're unsure about calling CPS, talk to a trusted adult like a teacher, school counselor or your friends' parents about your options.
    • Understand that when you turn 18, your parents will no longer have the legal right to make decisions for you. Maybe you don't get along with your parents, but are they putting you in actual danger? If not, your best bet might be to wait it out. When you turn 18, you'll be able to live your life the way you want.
  2. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 2
    Determine whether to pursue emancipation. If you are a teenager, the legal way to disown your family is to become "emancipated" from them. This means you'll be legally treated as an adult with the right to make your own decisions, and your parents will no longer be your legal guardians. In most states you have to be over 16 to pursue emancipation. This might be the right path for you if the following is true:
    • Your parents are abusive.[1]
    • Your parents are unable to take care of you.[2]
    • The situation at your parents' house is morally repugnant to you.[3]
    • You are financially independent and want to have the rights of an adult.
  3. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 3
    Become financially independent. A judge won't grant emancipation unless you are able to prove that you can live independently from your parents like any adult. That means being able to make enough money to pay for a place to live, groceries, medical bills, and all other expenses. Once you're emancipated, your parents will no longer be legally responsible for providing money to cover your basic needs.
    • Start by finding a job as soon as possible. Save up as much money as possible; be sure not to spend it on items you don't really need.
    • Move out of your family's house and into your own apartment. You also have the option of staying with a friend or relative, as long as the person agrees that the arrangement is permanent.
  4. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 4
    Get your parents' permission. The emancipation process is a lot easier when your parents agree that they don't want to be legally responsible for you. If they don't agree to consent to emancipation, the burden will be on you to prove that they aren't fit parents.
  5. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 5
    Submit the proper paperwork. You'll need to fill out a petition for emancipation, which you can obtain by contacting the Circuit Court in your jurisdiction. You will also need to fill out paperwork regarding your financial status, your employment status, and your living situation.
    • If possible, consider getting legal help when you fill out the paperwork. A lawyer familiar with your state's laws will be able to guide you during the process to make sure everything is filled out correctly. Look into ways to hire a lawyer when you have low income.
  6. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 6
    Attend a preliminary meeting and court hearing. After you submit your petition and other paperwork to the Court, you'll receive a date for a preliminary meeting that both you and your parents will attend. Your situation will be assessed, and if your parents object to your emancipation, you'll need to attend a court hearing to prove that they are unfit parents.
    • An investigation into your home situation may be conducted after the preliminary meeting.
    • If you are successfully able to prove that you can and should live as an adult, you'll be free to cut off all contact with your parents and family members - effectively disowning them.

Method 2
Disowning Your Family as an Adult

  1. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 7
    Put distance between you and your family. If you are in a physically abusive situation or feel as though you're at the end of your rope, the most important step is to get to a safe place where your family can't hurt you. If you're over 18, your parents and family members have no legal right to determine where you should live.
    • If you aren't financially independent, determine whether you can stay with a friend or relative until you get on your feet.
  2. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 8
    Cut off contact. Once you're an adult, "disowning" your family primarily means ceasing all contact with them. Stop calling your family, and stop taking their calls. The same goes for email and other forms of communication. Don't give them your address, and instruct others not to tell them where you are.
    • You may want to change your phone number and email address to make it more difficult for your family to get in touch.
    • Consider sending a written statement that you are cutting off contact. State that you no longer want to be in contact, that you are disowning them, and that if they try to contact you you'll take legal action.
  3. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 9
    Consider getting a restraining order. If your family is physically abusive to you or your children, you may want to get a restraining order so they will be legally obligated to stay away. A Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVROs) may prevent your family from contacting you or coming within a certain distance of you.
    • Consider hiring a lawyer to help guide you through the process of filing a restraining order. The procedure varies from state to state, and you'll have a better chance of getting the protections you want if you have an expert helping you fill out the forms and navigate court appearances.
    • Once the restraining order is in place, call the police immediately if your family members violate it.
  4. Image titled Disown Your Family Step 10
    Write your family out of your will.[4] Another way to make sure your family has no way to influence you or your children is to explicitly state as much in your will. Hire a lawyer to help you write a will that dictates your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical decisions, the guardianship of your children, and the way you wish your property to be handled.


  • Only emancipate if you really can't stand them.
  • It also depends on your age
  • Get advice from friends before going through with anything.
  • Try to work it out with a counselor.

Things You'll Need

  • Money for lawyer

Article Info

Categories: Family Life