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The Freedom Advisor

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Getting Out


I have a friend who desperately needs to get out of his family situation.

However, I'm not sure he has legal claim. His parents are forcing a religion on him that he doesn't want, and he doesn't feel safe in his house. Is there any legal way he can get out of that household, or does he have to stick it out until he's 18?

A friend

Hi Friend,

It's tough to see someone you care about in a situation like this, and can be as tough to try to help. How old is your friend? If he is under 16, then there isn't much he can do legally. Washington law is clear on that. If he is 16 or older, it appears to be a fairly straightforward matter, at least as far as the procedure goes. The primary issue regarding that concerns his parents. Will they dispute his petition, and if they do, with whom will the judge side?

You see, that's one of our major complaints with the so-called justice system (a better term is "just us"). It's complex and contradictory, often arbitrary, and if justice is served it's most likely a coincidence rather than the intended outcome. The judicial game is rigged, like the others in which the state is involved. Why play a game that's rigged against you? And it is heavily rigged against young people.

If your friend's home situation is that serious, he ought to give serious consideration to getting out, period. If his physical or mental health is at stake, he needs to get out -- even without a plan developed if the situation is urgent. Nothing else is more important.

But if things aren't that bad, he can take some time to think about how he'll live, and where he'll live, and how to arrange his affairs to be independent and responsible -- and avoid the intrusive eyes of the Thought Police. A major consideration should be whether his parents might try to force him back home, or take other retaliatory action; he may need to leave the area for his own safety. Other issues include supporting himself, educational goals, housing, and transportation.

Legal claim or no, your friend has no obligation to anyone or anything to remain in a situation that is intolerable to him. I hope you and his other friends can continue to support him and help him work through the decision process, and whatever lies beyond. Best wishes to you all.

Marriage Options

hi, i am 15 and my boyfriend is 19. i am not allowed to see him nor talk to him ...but i still do, without them knowing that is. we love each other so much and we both know that were destined to be....and we want to somehow be together. but i do NOT NOT NOT want him to go to jail. id rather lie my life down instead of him go to jail.

i wanted to know if there was any way that we could like get married out of the country...and then come back and everything be fine? or is there anything we could do without him getting in trouble? he is my number one concern...if there isn't...well then i guess ill just have to see him secretly until im 18 =(. which isnt very often to begin with. im willing to offer all i have for him..and him me. please help.


When you say you aren't "allowed" to see him, what exactly do you mean? Do your parents forbid contact, or is there a restraining order against him? To us it doesn't matter much, the state being a legal fiction after all, but the consequences of acting contrary to parents' edicts can be very different than challenging the Thought Police's.

You didn't mention what state you live in ... have you checked the age and requirements for legal marriage in your state? This chart, from the Legal Information Institute, provides basic information on each state's marriage law and if available, a link to the text of the statute. We don't know of a resource listing international marriage laws, but that strikes us as a highly impractical solution anyway. Taking a minor across state lines, and international borders, can land your sweetie in Big Trouble, and can make future togetherness even more challenging. Do you want to take that risk?

Legally speaking, it doesn't appear that you can do something "without him getting into trouble." But, just as we did with the writer above, we wonder why you're writing us with concerns about what's legal. What we're interested in is what's right, and what is freedom-enhancing for all individuals involved in a given transaction.

That said, since we're on the far side of our teenage years and remember well the angst and frustrations they can hold, we do understand your feelings. If you both are truly committed to a long-term, healthy relationship together, perhaps the best thing to do now is to wait. Make an agreement on how you want to honor your relationship while you can't be together if you want, and talk with your parents if they're the one with objections to your boyfriend. Perhaps after a while, with emotions cooling on both sides, you'll see some validity in their concerns, and they'll see that they may have overreacted, and you can create a solution where you and he can see each other.

Destiny doesn't put people together, and love won't keep people together. Shared values and goals, mutual respect, compatibility, and good communication along with love (and yes, lust) are the things that forge solid relationships, and keep them strong through hammerfalls in the forge of adversity. If your relationship is strong, and you both are committed to it, it will withstand this challenge and many others. We hope you find a way to make it, if that's what you both want.

Send your questions to The Freedom Advisor. Unless requested otherwise, all letters may be published here in Doing Freedom!.

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