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.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, it is important to consider each child's maturity and ability to react appropriately in an emergency situation. Other important considerations include how long the child is to be left alone as well as the time of day. As parents give consideration to these important factors, they should keep in mind that this vague legal definition may leave them vulnerable to legal charges of child neglect. Even without setting a specific age limit, parents are charged with appropriately judging whether their child is ready for this responsibility.Learn More
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 >
According to Nolo, the minimum legal age to leave home is 16 in most states; legally leaving home before age 18 is called emancipation. Emancipation frees parents from their financial obligations to support the minor. Minors are free from any obligation to remain physically with their parents. Generally, there are three ways to get emancipated: marriage, joining the military or petitioning a court.Full Answer >
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.Full Answer >
There is not a magic age where a child can choose which parent to live with as children are not considered to have a "legal right to choose." An older child will be given more consideration from a judge, but there is no specific age limitations.Full Answer >