Parents can be held liable for children’s acts

Imagine your child going to a friend’s house and damaging the other parent’s property. Your child certainly won’t be forced to pay for it, but will you?

A parent may be held liable for a child’s actions in some circumstances. Parental liability is the name for a parent’s obligation to pay for damage that was caused by criminal acts, negligent or intentional acts committed by that parent’s child. Not all parents will be held liable for a child’s actions; it depends on the age of the child.

When a child is only 3 or 4, it’s unlikely the child understands anything that he or she does as bad or negligent. By the time a child reaches 8 to 10 years old, that changes and parents begin to be held liable for their children’s acts. The parents remain liable until the children reach age 18.

Parents can be held liable for damage caused by a child. For example, if a child damages a person’s pool by kicking it, then the parents could have to pay for the damage. They can also be held liable for damages of a criminal nature. For example, if a child kills another child with a parent’s gun, then the parent may be held liable for the actions of his or her child due to the fact that the parent should have had the gun locked up and put away.

Our website has more information about this and other family law matters, so you can learn about the law and how it applies to your family’s case.