When it comes to children and custodial issues before family court there is no "magical age," says family law attorney Jeanne M. Hannah. As far as the courts are concerned, children are defined as legal incompetents who don't have the ability to make sound legal choices. The court does, however, take into account any statements children make in regard to living preferences.Know More
While, technically, children don't have any legal rights in choosing where they want to live, in reality, the right of children to have input on this important decision varies from state to state, Hannah states. Child custody cases depend on facts and family dynamics that are unique to each case. The court acts as a third party in these situations and, therefore, finds it difficult to make child custody decisions. Judges have a lot of leeway in allowing children to weigh in on the matter.
Judges consider more than just a child's age when it comes to a child's preference to live with one parent over another, Hannah states. They look deeper into the reasons a child has a preference. A child's level of maturity is another factor. For instance, some children are very articulate in expressing their views about parents and home life. Judges also take into account any special needs children may have, such as schooling. The child's best interest is always a major factor in custody decisions.Learn more about Legal Ages
Pennsylvania law does not specify an age at which children may be left home alone. This important question has gained national attention recently as parents try to decide when their children are old enough to be left to care for themselves or others.Full Answer >
In the United States, no federal law exists setting an age at which children can stay home along unsupervised, although some states have certain restrictions on age for children to stay home alone as well as duration of unsupervised period. Generally, individual families have quite a bit of flexibility in determining when children are physically and emotionally mature enough to remain home without parental supervision. Although most states do not have specific ages for leaving kids alone, some states, such as Maryland, require children who are age 8 or younger to have adult supervision, such as a babysitter or nanny, when parents must leave the home.Full Answer >
New Jersey law does not give a specific minimum age at which children may be left home alone. However, New Jersey statute 9:6-8.21 is applicable to abuse and neglect if a child under 18 has been endangered when left home alone.Full Answer >
The age a child needs to be to ride in the front seat legally varies from state to state, explains the Governors Highway Safety Association. Children ages 12 years and under need to ride in the back seat of a motor vehicle, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Full Answer >