Parental Responsibility Laws in New York

by ECL Writer
New York Open Adoption

Parental responsibility laws of some kind have been enacted in almost every state including New York. These laws allow parents or legal guardians to be held liable for specific harms a minor child causes. The specifics depend on the wording of the applicable state legislation, however, parents may be held financially liable when a child maliciously or willfully harms another person or destroys or damages property. In some areas, parents may even be liable for inadvertent harm caused by their children. In this article, will take a look at parental responsibility laws in New York State.

Basics Of New York’s Parental Responsibility Law

The New York General Obligations Law 3-112 contains the Parental Responsibility Law for New York. This statute limits the legal responsibility of parents and guardians to their underage children. Like other states, New York sets the legal drinking age at 18. The Parental Responsibility Law in New York, however, also stipulates that a kid must be older than 10 in order for parents to be held accountable for the child’s behavior. So keep in mind that only minor children who are over 10 and under 18 are covered by this law.

The actions of parents or other legal guardians who have custody of a minor child may be held against them under New York General Obligations Law 3-112. However, if the State, the Social Services Department, or a foster parent is in charge of a child, they are not liable under Section 3-112.

Who Can Pursue Damages Under New York’s Parental Responsibility Law?

Anyone or any entity that has suffered harm as a result of a minor’s deliberate, malicious, or illegal activities is eligible to file a claim for compensation against the minor’s parents or legal guardians. In other words, under 3-112, any party may seek damages, including an individual, a municipality, a company, a church, etc.

Liability For Property Damage

When a child intentionally or deliberately harms property, they are legally responsible under Section 3-112. Liability is also imposed for theft of property and vandalism. As long as the youngster committed the crime with knowledge or intent to cause harm, 3-112 pretty much covers the complete range of property violations. That implies that the action must have some degree of intention. Therefore, if a child accidentally damages property, parents won’t be held accountable under 3-112.

Liability For “False Bombs”

In New York, reporting or planting a “false bomb” is expressly punishable. In accordance with 3-112, parents and guardians may be held accountable if a minor in their care violates the law. The sum of the funds reasonably used to respond to the report or placement of the fake bomb constitutes damages for this offense. This could result in quite severe punishment. The cost of sending out a bomb squad and numerous police officers is significant. However, the maximum liability is $5,000.

What About A Parent’s Inability To Pay?

A parent or guardian may request some type of “hardship forgiveness” if a 3-112 judgment is obtained against them for $500 or more. The parent or guardian is required to provide strong proof of their incapacity to pay. The court may lower the amount of the parent’s judgment if sufficient proof is shown. However, the judgment will never be reduced to less than $500.

Are There Any Defenses Available To The Parent?

Under Section 3-112, parents and guardians are not accountable if reparation has been paid. Additionally, parents and guardians may be released from responsibility if the minor in their care willingly and without good reason left their house before the damage or destruction had a place.

The fact that the parent or guardian kept a close eye on the minor child is not a defense. However, when establishing the level of responsibility, courts might take this into account as a mitigating factor.

“Common Law” May Still Place Responsibility On Parents In New York

The “common law,” which is a long-standing, non-statutory body of legal concepts, may nevertheless hold parents liable even if a minor’s acts are not covered by the statutes mentioned above. For instance, if a parent is aware that their child has the propensity to engage in risky behavior, the parent may be required by law to take reasonable precautions to shield the child from harm that is reasonably foreseeable. It can be negligence if those actions are not taken. Learn more about the terms negligence, duty of care, and injury fault.

How Long Is A Parent Legally Responsible For A Child In New York?

In New York State, a parent is legally responsible for a child until the child reaches the age of 21. This means that a parent can be held liable for damages caused by their child until the child reaches the age of 21, as long as the damages were caused by the child’s intentional or reckless behavior. Once the child reaches the age of 21, the parent’s responsibility under the Parental Responsibility Law ends. However, there may be other legal obligations and responsibilities that a parent may have toward their adult child.

At What Age Can A Child Decide Which Parent To Live With In NYS?

In New York State, a child cannot legally choose which parent to live with until they reach the age of 18 and become an adult. Until then, decisions regarding the child’s custody and living arrangements are typically made by the court based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider various factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the stability of each household, the parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, and any history of abuse or neglect. If the child is 14 years or older, the court may also consider their preference when making a custody determination. However, the final decision regarding custody and living arrangements is made by the court and not the child.

How Long Does A Father Have To Be Absent To Lose His Rights In NY?

In New York State, a father does not automatically lose their rights as a parent just because they have been absent for a certain period of time. The length of time a father has been absent from a child’s life is just one of many factors that the court will consider when making a determination about a father’s parental rights.

In general, a father’s rights can be terminated if the court finds that the father has abandoned the child, is unfit to serve as a parent, or that termination of the father’s rights is in the best interests of the child. However, the specifics of what constitutes abandonment or unfitness, as well as the procedures for terminating a father’s rights, vary from case to case and can be complex. It is recommended that the father seek legal guidance if they are concerned about their parental rights.

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