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  • Legality of an 18-year-old leaving home?

    I am 18 years old and planning on enlisting in the Marine Corps either now or when I turn 21. I say 21 because my parents are very against me joining the military, and my father has been trying to come up with ways to legally stop me (he is in law enforcement himself). He said that in the state of Virginia, I can be arrested for "running away" up until I am 21 years old. Is this true? The other day he came home with a sheet of paper which he said you fill out when your child runs away, and there was a spot to check off if the child is between the age of 18 and 21. I obviously have no disabilities, never even gotten a speeding ticket, healthy, and I'm not just leaving home because I'm tired of being here, I'm leaving home to enlist in the Marine Corps. I respect my parents very much, but this is a decision that I have thought long and hard about, we've discussed it thoroughly, and yet they are still against it to the point of threatening arrest.

    The logistics of it all have to still be worked out. I don't know what they'd do if they really can't have me arrested. They might kick me out, in which case, I'll have nowhere to go because all my friends are away at college and I am taking a couple community college classes in my hometown. I payed a few thousand towards my car but the title is in his name so I won't have transportation either. I have about $200 cash, the rest is in the bank which I don't even have access to.

    So my question is, can he have me arrested or even picked up for leaving home? What would you do in my spot? After the military I hope to become a law enforcement officer, so anything on my permanent record would, to say the least, not be a great thing. Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by cdva; 09-05-2014, 01:04 PM.

  • #2
    18 years old = adult.
    The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

    I Am the Sheepdog.


    "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
    that we are all that stands between
    the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


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    • #3
      § 1-204. Age of majority.

      For the purposes of all laws of the Commonwealth including common law, case law, and the acts of the General Assembly, unless an exception is specifically provided in this Code, a person shall be an adult, shall be of full age, and shall reach the age of majority when he becomes 18 years of age.

      (1972, cc. 824, 825, § 1-13.42; 2005, c. 839.)
      18 is the age of majority in VA. That makes you an adult in almost all things (think drinking as an exception). I would be interested to know what he showed you. Almost sounds like a form for somebody with a mental disability (they could reasonably still be under the protection of an adult caregiver even after reaching the age of majority).

      At any rate, as long as you live in their house, you have to follow their rules, obviously you understand that already. Weigh your options and make your decision wisely. What I would do is based on circumstances that are particular to my exact situation, so it will not necessarily work or mean anything to you....therefore I will not tell you. This is a decision only you can make.

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      • #4
        ^^ There you go. At 18 you are a legal adult in all 50 states and in federal law. You can enlist without permission and leave home. He can fill out whatever reports he wants but there is no legal action that can be taken. Unless, that is, your parents have been given legal guardianship over you in a court due to some mental defect or other issue that makes you incapable of making legal decisions. Since I dont think that is the case, you are fine.

        Also like kermit said, if you do enlist against their wishes, you may find yourself cut off from aid and help or other communication from your parents. You may not be able to return to their home either. So like above, look at your options and if it is truly what you want to do, go for it and have a good life.

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        • #5
          Unless your father has you declared incompetent and is named your guardian-----------at 18 you are a LEGAL ADULT and can do anything you want that is legal. (Well for that matter you can do anything you want even if it is not legal---but that is another thread)
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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          • #6
            Yep. Go enlist, then see how the Corps reacts when he tries to prevent you shipping out. Even if Virginia had such a law federal law trumps it. Federal law says you can enlist at 18, so you can enlist at 18. Talk to your recruiter, tell him/her you need a short ship date due to family issues.

            That said, military service is something to give careful consideration. You're giving up years of your life. You can't just leave if you don't like it... and I guarantee there are parts you won't like. You may hate all of it. The positive benefits of successful service are great, but the negative consequences of unsuccessful service can follow you for years, even your entire life.

            Also, talk to all the services. All have their pros and cons. All have their reputations, which may not apply to individual members... an AF smurf can be just as gung-ho and squared away as any Marine if he chooses to be. Coasties and the Corps tend to give more responsibility to lower ranks because of their size and organization. AF and Army tend to have more career options and duty locations and generally promote more quickly.

            Navy just sucks rocks, straight up.

            Think about what you're doing and why you're doing it. Look at all your options from all the services. THEN make your decision.
            "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

            "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jchughes05 View Post
              18 years old = adult.
              Exactly

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              • #8
                Don't wait until 21 because you will be old by then. Do your enlisted time while you are a young adult. Semper Fidelis!

                Also, I was called by a Muslim family where the older brother wanted us to go pick up his 18 or 19 year old sister who was dating someone they didn't approve of and who wouldn't listen to him by leaving their house whenever she wanted to. Of course, I explained the age of emancipation law in addition to law enforcement not enforcing anyone's customs.

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                • #9
                  Get out of the house. Now. Your father is not doing you any favors. Get out, see the world, grow and make your own life.
                  Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                  I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                  • #10
                    I've thoroughly thought about the pros and cons of becoming a Marine, and I firmly believe that it will help me grow as a person and make me a better police officer later on, in addition to the obvious pros of serving my country, gaining valuable life experiences, and seeing the world. The report that he showed me was for a missing child, but he said that's what they filled out when a child runs away. One of the spots to check said something like "missing child 18-21." I'm certainly competent (as competent as one can be at 18, I suppose). My father knows the law, but he also knows that anything that could possibly taint my permanent record I'd stay away from. I'm thinking he might have just told me this to scare me off. Thank you for your input!

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                    • #11
                      You're good, drive on and become a Marine!
                      Strong Body, Sharp Mind And Good Tactics!

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                      • #12
                        The report that he showed me was for a missing child, but he said that's what they filled out when a child runs away
                        One should honor one's parents and listen to their counsel. That said, you must make your own way in life at some point.

                        IF Virginia was to issue a warrant for your arrest for "running away" at 18 and presented it to the commander of your installation he would, at most, check that your enlistment was lawful and that you are in fact 18. He would them hand it back and tell the officers presenting it to get the F off his post. However, I can't see a court aware of the facts even issuing such an order.

                        Also, and I say this with due consideration, your father APPEARS to be a man without honor or integrity. IF what you are telling us is true he is misusing his position and understanding of the law to unduly influence you and MAY be telling you outright lies. IF what you are saying is true this reflects poorly on him both as a father and a peace officer. This may be a reaction to your interest in the military, or it may be his normal personality, but either way he is trained and expected to react appropriately under stress... and currently he is not.

                        Consider that you are about to enter into a profession that takes honor, integrity and personal responsibility VERY seriously. More so that you probably believe possible at this point. People in the profession of arms DIE for honor and for the man or woman on their left and on their right when they might have lived had they made a different choice. When you get to training and are standing on those little yellow footprints that literally TENS of THOUSANDS have stood on before you, look to your left and right. That is the person you may die for someday, or for the person who stood where you stand yesterday, or who will stand there tomorrow. That is the bottom line.

                        This will shape your outlook and character for the future, and MAY drive the wedge further between yourself and your father.
                        Last edited by tanksoldier; 09-05-2014, 05:28 PM.
                        "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                        "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post

                          Navy just sucks rocks, straight up.


                          Cant find the one I want, these will have to do.

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                          • #14
                            Looking at those faces make me wonder what they are thinking.

                            --"They told me the MOS was full so I told them I wont enlist then." --"They found one more slot."

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                            • #15
                              You will not be a missing child, you will be a young adult who enlisted in the service.

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