Remote School and a Working Parent: Can You Leave Your Child Home Alone?

With some schools not having in-person classes, many working parents in today’s COVID era are left wondering if they can leave their child home alone.

Currently, Illinois law defines neglect as a parent leaving any minor under the age of 14 without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor.

However, there are other laws that may also come into effect in a parentage or divorce case when parents are at odds and don’t see eye to eye on whether their child is ready to be home alone. For example:

  • Depending on the circumstances, a parent could seek an Order of Protection against the other parent for leaving a minor at home without supervision for an unreasonable period of time.
  • Another law in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act may allow a parent to file a Petition claiming that leaving the child unsupervised has seriously endangered the mental, moral and physical well-being of the minor child.
  • Additionally, a parent may file a Petition in court alleging Visitation Abuse claiming that the parent that left the child unsupervised at home did not act in the best interests of their child.

These laws all have various potential penalties, including but not limited to suspension or modification of parenting time, therapy or parenting classes for the parents, fees and fines and other potential significant consequences.

Each child is ready to be left home alone at different times in their life. Before you make the decision to leave your child home alone, you should speak with your child’s other parent to see if you are on the same page in order to avoid conflict. If you aren’t able to reach this agreement, Kogut & Wilson is here and available to answer any questions in these uncertain times.

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