What is emancipation?
Emancipation is basically a way for a minor (under age 18) to become an adult in the eyes of the law. Once a person becomes emancipated, his/her parents are no longer responsible for him/her and the emancipated minor can file court cases, enter into contracts, or legally do anything that an adult can do.
A minor child automatically becomes emancipated (without going to court) if s/he gets married.1 To become emancipated by a court (without getting married), the child has to be 16 or older to ask the court for emancipation.2 The child must prove that emancipation is in his/her best interests. The judge would hold a hearing, consider many factors (which can be found here on our NC Statutes page), and decide whether or not to grant the emancipation.3
1 NCGS § 7B-3509
2 NCGS § 7B-3500
3 NCGS § 7B-3503; see also § 7B-3504