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Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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A mother routinely leaves a 20 year old, at 17 year old and

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A mother routinely leaves a 20 year old, at 17 year old and a 15 year old siblings at home alone with no parental supervision for 2 or 3 days at a time, especially on weekends and returns most mornings (monday through friday) to take the 15 and 17 year old to school. Is she guilty of child abandonment or neglect?
*This chat is not intended as legal advice. It is general information that may or may not apply to your situation and should not be relied upon.*


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

Absent some extenuating circumstances, the mother would not be guilty of abandonment or neglect. It is lawful and not neglectful to leave children in the care of another adult. The 20-year-old is legally an adult.

I would be glad to respond to any related follow-up questions that you may have.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The 20 year old is actually 19. She will be 20 on June 2nd of this year. I should have been more specific with her age if this makes a difference.

Hello Joe,

The legal age of majority in California is 18. Therefore the 19-year-old is an adult.

In fact, most courts would not consider it to be legal abandonment or neglectful to leave a 15-year-old in the care of a 17-year-old for 2 or 3 days unless the 15-year-old or 17-year-old had some special needs that were not being met. Most courts would determine that this is a difference in parenting style rather than neglect

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I mentioned in my first question that she returns most mornings to take the 15 and 17 year olds to school. She is their only means of transportation. The 19 year old does not have a car to transport the other two to school and their is no bus service. I suspect the kids miss at least 1 day of school per week when the mom does not return home to take them.

I agree that the circumstances could be better for these children. You can contact the child protective services hotline and request an investigation of the parental absence.

The phone numbers are at this link:
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