Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

Legal Age for Minor to Stay Home Alone

What is the legal age in MD for a minor to stay at home alone? in Harford and Howard Counties, if that makes a difference.

Asked on 6/23/00, 12:08 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Carolyn Press Chung & Press. P.C.
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Re: Legal Age for Minor to Stay Home Alone

Section five, Subtitle eight of the Maryland Family Law Article provides that it is unlawful for a person charged with the care of a child (a parent, guardian, child care provider, etc.) to lock or confine a child under the age of eight years in a dwelling, building, enclosure or motor vehicle out of sight of the person charged with the child's care unless that person provides a reliable person (such as a baby sitter) at least thirteen years old to stay with and protect the child. A violation of this law is a misdemeanor which can result in a fine up to $500 or up to thirty days in jail. Most social workers, judges, and others who deal with issues of child abuse and neglect seem to think that children much older, up to about twelve or thirteen, should not be left alone. I know that some people believe that it is illegal to leave an eleven or twelve year old alone. But that is not the law, in Harford or Howard Counties or anywhere else in the state. If your concern has to do not with the law but with factors a judge might weigh in settling a disputed custody case, most judges would probably tilt away from awarding custody to a parent who routinely left a child more than eight years old, and less than eleven or twelve, alone.

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Answered on 9/01/00, 1:59 pm

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