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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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My daughter is 17 and pregnant. She wants to get her own

Customer Question

My daughter is 17 and pregnant. She wants to get her own apartment. Her mom has agreed to this & they are asking me for permission. What legal responsibility would we have as parents in Florida if something were to happen?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
A 17-year-old cannot sign a legally binding contract, so either you or your wife would have to co-sign on the lease. You'd also probably have to sign for any utilities, phone, cable TV, etc.�she's not old enough to contract for any of those services. And that means, if she doesn't pay, you're on the hook for whatever she owes. This could include interest and late fees assessed by the companies, even if your daughter doesn't give you the bills. So, that's a risk.
A co-signer on a lease can also be ordered to pay for any damage to the apartment when the tenant moves out, even if you never lived there. Even if you're not on the lease, if she causes intentional damage to the property, you're legally responsible because she's a minor.
Having a child does not legally emancipate your daughter, so she's still considered a child herself. You're still responsible for providing necessary care and shelter. If you and your wife don't maintain frequent, regular contact with your daughter until her 18th birthday, you could be charged with child abandonment.
It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

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