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In Queensland you’re expected to live with your parents or legal guardians until you are 18—but there’s no law that says you must stay at home until then.

Once you turn 16, you won’t normally be forced to return home by the authorities as long as you’ve got a safe place to go and you can financially support yourself.

If you’re under 18 and leave home, the police and Child Safety may investigate the reasons why you left home. They can apply to the Court for a child protection Order if they think you’re in need of protection from harm.

Before leaving home or changing your living arrangements, you should get legal advice.

 

Moving out

Moving out is a big decision. If you and your parents aren’t getting along there might be someone who can help you and your family talk things through. This could be another family member, a trusted friend or a trained counsellor.

Before you move out you should consider what personal items you’ll need to take with you, for example:

  • personal documents
  • clothes
  • school books
  • personal belongings

You might need another family member or a trusted friend to help you negotiate this with your parents.

When moving out, you should also be aware of the following legal requirements:

  • Going to school
  • Employment laws
  • Having sex
  • Changing your name
  • Going to the doctor
  • Young driver laws

 

When can I move out?

In Queensland you’re expected to live with your parents or legal guardians until you are 18—but there’s no law that says you must stay at home until then.

If you are under 18 and leave home, the authorities (eg the police and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (Child Safety)) may not force you to return home if you’ve got a safe place to go and you can financially support yourself.

When deciding whether to intervene the authorities will consider:

  • your parents’ attitude.
  • your maturity level.
  • your access to satisfactory accommodation and income.
  • if you’re in a safe place.

Centrelink benefits are usually only available once you turn 16 (if certain conditions are met). If you are under 16 they can be made available under special circumstances.

The police and Child Safety can investigate the reasons why you left home. If they think you’re in need of protection from harm or abuse they can make an application for a child protection Order. This Order will say where you should live.

 

Children in need of care or under a child protection Order

There are laws to protect children and young people who aren’t being properly cared for, don’t have a safe place to live or are suffering harm (such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect).

If someone thinks you’re in need of protection they can contact Child Safety with their concerns. This could be anyone concerned about you. Some people, like doctors, nurses, teachers, police and child advocates with the Office of the Public Guardian are required by law to tell Child Safety if they suspect you have suffered significant harm, are suffering significant harm or at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm.

If Child Safety thinks you need protection they will make an application to the Children’s Court for a child protection Order. This could include Child Safety being given responsibility of deciding where you should live. This could be—with your parents, another relative or a foster parent. If you’re under a child protection Order and you want to change where you live you’ll need to talk to your child safety officer.

 

Parenting Orders from the Family Court

Parenting Orders made by the Family Court no longer apply once you’ve turned 18, and you’re free to choose where you want to live.

If you’re under 18 and you want to change a parenting Order you should get legal advice.

 

Disclaimer: The material presented on this website is an information source only. The information on this website is written for people resident in, or affected by the laws of Queensland, Australia only. Links to other sites from this website are provided for the users’ convenience. The LGBTI Legal Service does not endorse these sites and is not responsible for the information on these sites or the use made of this information. If you have a specific legal problem, you should consult a professional legal advisor.

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