Taylor M. is from Grimsby, a small town in Southern Ontario. He is 17 years old, and will be graduating from high school in three months. After graduation, he plans on going to college to become a certified electrician.

Last winter, Taylor’s parents got a divorce. They now live in separate homes. Since the divorce, Taylorhas been living in both of his parents’ homes. He spends half of his week in his mom’s house, and the other half in his dad’s apartment.

Over the past several months, Taylor has grown tired of living in two separate homes. It is interfering with his studies and social life. Although he would feel more comfortable living in only one of their places, he doesn’t want either parent to feel like he or she is less important than the other. 

Taylor has thought about moving away from home. He has an older friend who he could stay with for the next year or two. Taylor feels like this might be his best option, seeing that he is finding it very difficult to live with each of his parents.

When can Taylor decide where to live?

In Ontario, at 16 years of age or older, you can generally decide where you want to live and you do not need a legal guardian. 

However, if Taylor’s parents have a court order that deals with custody, his parents can get into trouble with the family court if they help Taylor to ignore the order by not seeing or living with one of the parents. In order to avoid this it would be good if both of Taylor’s parents could agree to let him live with his friend.

Can Taylorapply to be “Emancipated” from his parents?

We do not have laws on “Emancipation” in Ontario. In some States in the U.S.A., there are emancipation laws which let someone 16 years and older apply to a court, to be free from the custody and control of their parents or guardians and to be responsible for their own support. This process does not exist in Ontario.

Do Taylor’s parents have to financially support him?

If Taylorwas forced to leave home, his parents may still have to support him. For example, he would be entitled to support if he left home because he was kicked out without a very good reason, or if he was were abused, or if his living situation at home is unsafe, unbearable or impossible.

From the info we have from Taylor it does not appear that those situations apply.  He merely prefers to live away from his parents, which would likely mean that his parents do not have a legal obligation to provide financial support. 

However, it certainly does not hurt for Taylorto talk to his parents about whether or not they may assist him financially if he leaves home.  If they wont support him, then Taylor will need to plan for a way to support himself and this may affect his decision to leave home in the first place. 

For more information on Leaving Home, consult our pamphlet on 
Leaving Home, as well as our YouTube video on Leaving home
 You can also refer to past blog posts on this subject:


Kids Help Phone
416-973-4444 / 1-800-668-6868 (outside Toronto).

Children’s Aid Society – 416-987-7725 in Toronto
To locate your local CAS, visit the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society’s website at

Information about community, government, social and health issues
Dial “211” from inside the Toronto area, or visit
Outside GTA, check the local Blue Book or visit


Justice for Children and Youth:
415 Yonge Street, Suite 1203
GTA (416) 920 – 1633 
Legal Aid Ontario –
416-598-0200 / 1-800-668-8258 (for young people under age 18 only)

Lawyer Referral Service – 416-947-3330 / 1-800-268-8326
Referrals to lawyers; 30 min free advice.

This scenario was written by JFCY PLE Team Volunteer Stefan Venier, who is now a law student at the University of Windsor.  Legal info by JFCY.