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Becoming independent

Moving out of home is a big decision and it’s important you make sure that you have planned well before you decide to do so. This includes making sure you have a safe place to live and that you have enough money, as well as making sure that you know how moving out will affect other parts of your life, such as your schooling. It’s a good idea to work out a plan with a trusted adult, or a youth counsellor, before you decide to leave home to make sure you don’t end up in a bad situation.  These are a couple of the things you'll have to think about:

Money issues – what will you need to pay?

Moving out and renting a house or apartment can be expensive and it’s important to work out whether you'll have enough money to survive.

You’ll have to think about the ongoing costs of living on your own which include:
  • rent,
  • bills (electricity, gas, water, internet, etc),
  • food,
  • household items (furniture, cookware, etc.),
  • transport to school or work,
  • school fees and school uniform (if you are still at school),
  • clothes, and
  • other activities (like going to the movies with friends or playing on a sports team).

If you'll be living in a share house and splitting these costs, you'll have to make sure you have a very clear agreement in place about:
  • how much everyone pays,
  • when they pay,
  • who's in charge of collecting the money,
  • how you will pay for shared household goods like cleaning products, and
  • who’s in charge of paying the bills.

For more information on renting, check out our Lawstuff page on renting.

If you want to move out of home, it's a good idea to wait until you have a job and to save as much money as possible before you start looking for a place. It would also be helpful to sit down with a trusted adult and put together a budget before you move out into your own place. You might also want to check to see if you are eligible to receive financial assistance from Centrelink.

You can check out some helpful online planning resources for leaving home here:

1. Kids Helpline - Leaving Home:

2. Reachout - Moving Out of Home:

3. MoneySmart - Moving Out of Home:

4. Centrelink - Young People Becoming Independent:

5. Applying for jobs:


Usually, until you turn 18 your parents have to sign all your important school documents, like forms about enrolment and excursions.

If you are thinking of living independently from your parents it’s a good idea to ask your school how this will affect your school documents. Your school might decide that you are mature enough to sign forms for yourself. However, depending on your school, they might decide that your parents, or another trusted adult, still have to sign these forms for you. 

If you’re thinking about leaving school when you move out you need to make sure that this is okay. You can check out our Lawstuff page on Leaving School for more information.

ID documents – birth certificates and passports

If you leave home in a hurry, your parents might still have your ID documents (like your birth certificate or passport). This might be a problem in the future if you want to go overseas (and need your passport) or you need ID for a particular reason (like to get a driver’s licence or when you apply for a job).

If you’re thinking of leaving home this might be something to talk to your parents about (if you feel safe and comfortable doing so).

For more information on birth certificates and passports check our Lawstuff page on birth certificates or passports.

This page was last updated on 25 June 2015.