It is common for busy parents to leave their children home alone. There could be many reasons why this happens. From work, running errands, or any other adult business, these parents have a difficult time juggling caregiving responsibilities and other urgent matters. This is particularly true for homeschooling moms. Many unpredictable situations can occur requiring your kids to stay home alone. But is it legal? And how do you know if your kids are ready? Whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent, you will reach a point where you have to trust them to handle their own safety.
Laws for leaving your kids home alone
It all depends on your child’s age and maturity level as well as how safe is your place and surrounding neighborhood. Some general guidelines for leaving kids at home include:
- 7 & under – Can’t be left alone under any circumstances.
- 8 to 10 years – Can be left alone for 1½ hours mostly during the day.
- 11 to 12 years – Can be left alone but only 3 hours and it can’t be late at night or during circumstances that require adult supervision.
- 13 to 15 years – These kids can be unsupervised but no overnight.
- 16 to 7 years of age – Can be unsupervised for a longer period of time.
It is important to remember these are just general guidelines. Only parents can decide what’s best for their children in every specific circumstance.
When is your child ready?
Every child is different and also the circumstances requiring them to stay home for a while. Parents must consider other general guidelines to figure out if their children are safe and ready to stay home alone. Age is definitely an important factor and the child’s maturity level. If you need to leave your children home alone, make sure they don’t stay alone for too long, especially if your child is not very independent or good at following directions. Also, make sure they’re safe and keep the doors and windows locked. Perhaps you have a neighbor that can keep an eye on your kids. Also, make sure you ask your kids how they feel about staying home alone. Some kids don’t feel safe so it may not be a good experience for them while other kids are okay with the whole idea and may not even notice the difference.
Leaving children home and custody
Some revenue parents take advantage of the situation to use it against the other parent in court. In other words, leaving your child home alone may not be a good idea if you are seeking sole custody. You should seek the advice of an experienced Salt Lake City child custody attorney before starting a new schedule that may require leaving the kids unsupervised.
If you have any questions about how leaving your kids home alone can impact your custody case. Call Salt Lake City family law attorney Emy A. Cordano and schedule your initial case assessment.