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Leaving Home at 16: The UK Law Regarding Under 18's Moving Out


If for any reason you are seriously considering leaving home before your 18th birthday, please be aware that you aren't alone. Before you make the decision to leave it's always best to make sure you know the facts about what you can and can't do in the United Kingdom.

Age and the Law

Until you're 18 years old, your parents have significant control over you, as, if you're under 18 years of age the government says that you're a minor; regardless of how mentally or emotionally mature you consider yourself, and as such if you live with your parents biological or otherwise, they're legally your guardians, however, just because your parents and guardians by law doesn't mean they can, for exampe withhold your human rights, or, more specifically, your rights as a young person. For example, did you know that according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 31; that every child has the right to relax and play?

The UK Law Regarding Minors Leaving Home

Although you're still considered a minor at the age of 16, the government believes that you are mature enough to make some decisions about your life for yourself, before you're 18, that's why the age of consent in the UK is 16.

In the majority of circumstances, you can leave home without your parent or guardian's specific consent. However this isn't the be all to end all. Where parents or guardians involve the Police or Social Services this can affect your job, your personal life and your future.

Things To Note

  • Should you decide to leave home against your parent's (or anyone else with parental responsibility's) consent, there's nothing to say they that they won't seek court or Police action to try to force you to come back home. If the situation was taken to court the process could take some time and there is no guarantee that you'll win or what the outcome might be, it's unlikely that any court would order you to return home if you didn't want to and had evidence-backed reasonable grounds for not wishing to do so.
  • Please don't make any immediate or life changing decisions by yourself, talk to people that you know you can trust and who you know have your best interest and personal safety at heart, always seek professional advice relating your specific circumstances.
  • For more information relevant to this subject please visit the "Young People and Family" section of Citizen's Advice's official website.
  • The CCLC offers free legal information and advice on child, family and education law in England to children, young people, their families, carers and professionals. You can get legal information on their website at (Credit: Citizen's Advice)
  • If you feel like you're experiencing symptoms anxiety or depression you can seek advice from your GP, they may refer you to the Children and young people's mental health services (CYPMHS) who can offer a variety of services from signposting onto relevant services or direct treatment. You can find out more about CYPMHS by clicking here.

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.... on September 08, 2020:

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I am 13 I want move out into a flat because I don't have any rights I dont have a world in my household

Megan Ellis on June 18, 2020:

I am 16 and will be turning 17 on december 11th the reason i wanna leave home is because my brother keeps starting and he is vilant when drunk he hits people and threatens them but every time he does it my mum always forgives him and i'm sick of it i don't want him anywhere near me even them

Andrew Chadwick on May 18, 2020:

I am 14 and i hate the rules in my house so i want to leave so when im sixteen im leaving my parents house and becoming a solictior

umme habeeba bashir on November 28, 2019:

I am 12, I think that the age that you should leave home is 18+ because under that age it is your parents responsibility to look after you.

Jason B Truth from United States of America on January 01, 2017:

Jeff? When I lived in California, there was a legal procedure in which a minor as young as 14 years of age could become legally emancipated from their parents. That is, a minor had a way of legally terminating their parents' guardianship rights over them. Use of this procedure was particularly common in Los Angeles where I lived, because many kids earn six-figure incomes in show business. It differs from state jurisdiction to state jurisdiction here in the United States of America, however. Some states do not allow for minors to seek emancipation until they are 15 years old, 16 years old, or even 17 years old. I know of no state jurisdiction here in my country where the minimum age for a minor to do so is less than 14 years old. Anyhow, I just wanted to give you the heads-up on how it all works here in the United States of America. Your article had valuable information in it regarding the laws in the United Kingdom in this regard.

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