Responsible Parents

Responsible and caring parents try to guide their young children to behave properly.  Reminders to say, “Please,” and “Thank you,” to hold your fork properly, and to share nicely with other children are just a few of the ways parents constantly mold their children. Hopefully they are successful, and the next generation is one of productive and kind citizens.  Of course, there will always be times when kids don’t do as they’re told.  While prodding them time after time to complete their homework or a household chore can be annoying, what happens if your child’s behavior causes damage to another person’s body or property?

Parents may inherently feel guilt or responsible for their child’s behavior, but to what extent are they legally obligated for something they themselves did not do? Arizona Revised Statute 12-661 states:

Any act of malicious or willful misconduct of a minor which results in any injury to the person or property of another, to include theft or shoplifting, shall be imputed to the parents or legal guardian having custody or control of the minor whether or not such parents or guardian could have anticipated the misconduct for all purposes of civil damages…”

Parents are financially responsible, up to $10,000 per offense, even if they had no indication that their little darling was planning to commit a crime. When kids turn 18, they are then fully responsible, legally and financially, for their own actions. For most parents, the molding and guidance doesn’t end on the same day as the responsibility to pay for their children’s mistakes. For some it never does.

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