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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102145
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Is it appropriate for a 12 year old to babysit a 3 year old

Customer Question

is it appropriate for a 12 year old to babysit a 3 year old while the mother is out of town? The father says he will not allow it and mother says it is her business as she is custodial parent but father says he will take care of child instead and mother says no.
JA: Family law varies by state. What state are you in?
Customer: Texas
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: this is the issue of the moment.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Texas is one of the states that lacks a babysitting law. Meaning, there is no minimum age at which babysitting is legal. Therefore, the Court would look at this at a case by case basis if the parents brought this up as part of the SAPCR (conservatorship/custody) situation.

While the child is in the mother's care, the mother decides what happens so if she goes out of town, she has the right to appoint a babysitter for the time. The father can:

-file a complaint about neglect with DFS (they have to investigate), or

-file a modification of the SAPCR, arguing that this and other actions have proven her incapable of custody and he should be the proper custodian.

Otherwise however, there is little the father can do. Unless the decree specifically states that for prolonged absences, the father will take over, then the mother has the ability to appoint a guardian/babysitter for her custody time.

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Customer: replied 8 months ago.
even if the mother puts the child in a position of danger it is ok and the father can do nothing at all except go to court at some point? That does not sound fair to the child nor safe for the child especially when the father is willing to have the child with him and she is just an angry person and says it is her day to have her and if she leaves her with a 12 year old sitter and goes out of town that is her business. does not sound like the best interest of the child to me.
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

so even if the mother puts the child in a position of danger it is ok and the father can do nothing at all except go to court at some point?

No. If the child is in danger, the father can call DFS for a wellness check and they will come out to investigate. If the child is in immediate danger, he should call police and if the police confirm that the child is in danger, the child will be handed off to the father or DFS. The police confirming that there was danger will help to void any allegation of custody interference later, and will support the father's actions for taking the child if she does.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!

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