Your Responsibilities as a Parent – Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green

Nov. 5th, 2012   /   , ,

Your Responsibilities as a Parent – Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green

 

Obviously with parenthood comes a multitude of responsibilities. It is your job as a parent to provide your child with food, clothing, shelter and guidelines by which to live a good and moral life.  When your child does something positive, like performing well at school or helping out your community, you can feel good knowing that your parenting played a part in their success. Conversely, when something that they do is wrong, you question yourself as to what you can do better to prevent them from acting out in the future. The law deals with the latter issue in a pretty clear matter here in the state of Florida.

In this blog we’re going to look at two specific areas of the Florida Statutes that deal with a parent being responsible for the wrongdoing of their child (given that the child is under 18 years of age). The first issue we’re going to look at has to do with negligence behind the wheel—something that we at Aronberg, Aronberg & Green are quite familiar with. The second issue will be that of vandalism, a popular form of acting-out that many teenagers engage in around Halloween time.

Lets begin on our state highways, where many of the cars are driven by people under 18 years of age. Florida state law stipulates that “any negligence or willful misconduct of a minor under the age of 18 years when driving a motor vehicle upon a highway” will be the responsibility of the parent of the minor child. That means that the parent will be responsible for ensuring that the financial damages caused by the child’s negligence behind the wheel (which could have led to a major, costly accident) are covered. In other states, the law sets a dollar limit up to which the parent is responsible for covering—in Florida, though, there is no set limit. The law says that the parents will be liable for “any damages” caused by the negligence of the child—this could include auto repairs, hospital bills, lost wages, etc. As parents you might be responsible for covering hefty damages; make sure your children know the importance of safety and alertness, especially when getting behind the wheel.

Now let’s move to vandalism. Florida law states that parents are responsible for covering the damages related to the willful destruction of any type of property—belonging to any person, organization or district—by their child (again, given that the child is under 18 years of age). This means that if your child destroys school property (desks, lights, walls, electrical systems, driveways, anything) the school can, under the law, recover the full amount of damages from you. For another example, let’s use the infamous “mischief night,” the night before Halloween where some teenagers go out and vandalize the neighborhoods. Let’s say that the teenagers are throwing eggs at a house and one of the eggs happens to break a window in the house. Under the law, the owners of the vandalized house can come after the guilty teenager’s parents for damages relating to the replacing the window and, theoretically, cleaning up all of the egg from the walls of the house.

Just as overseas diplomats are an extension of the United States, your children are an extension of you. Their successes will make you proud, their shortcomings will upset you and their mischief will be your responsibility. Make sure to instill in your children a sense of good citizenship—not only will it benefit society and your child, it will benefit your pocketbook, too!

For any questions relating to this or any other matter, please contact us for a free consultation at 561-266-9191 or daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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