Q: Is it legal for my sister in law to leave her 4 kids home alone? Ages 15,12,9&6. 15 has mental instability right now.
15 year old has already been placed on suicide once in the last few months and states he doesn't want to be responsible for his younger siblings. My brother and her are divorcing and the kids keep texting him she keeps leaving them alone while he's at work. Is this legal?
A: The child support ordered, which is an inevitable part of getting divorced, can include money for professional child care to the extent that the children can't be left home with their older sibling. Your brother could end up paying A LOT OF MONEY for child care. So you really need to be careful what you wish for.
A: Generally speaking, the 15 year old is old enough to babysit. We don't know if the recent bought of depression is an ongoing problem and maybe it wouldn't be wise to leave the 15 year old in charge. No attorney can read a post on line and tell you that this is or isn't a good or bad idea. This is your brother's issue so your brother needs to be the one to consult with a lawyer and get appropriate advice.
It is really a bad idea for family members, no matter how well meaning, to discuss legal matters on the internet which is a publicly viewable forum. These are very complex issues and they are best handled by the immediate family members who are involved.
Children will do all sorts of childish things just because they are children and their behavior can deteriorate when their parents are in a situation of emotional conflict. Steps have to be taken to minimize the impact of a divorce on the children and that means keeping the children out of the conflict. So the texting to the father by the children needs to be curtailed so the children aren't fanning the flames of an already tense situation.
If there needs to be more supervision of the children then the father can offer to pay for a baby sitter or some other plan can be reached that keeps the children secure. On the other hand, the children may be fine and this may be unnecessary hysteria. We don't know.
But you have to be very careful that you don't make a bunch of arguments that will blow back against you. For example if you argue what a horrible mother the mother is, then that would call into question how great is the father that married this women and decided to have four children with her? For example you can argue that the 15 years old has mental problems and is unstable, but that could call into question the father's role in why the 15 year a old is not doing well. I am not saying that the father has any fault here, but I just want to point out to you that there are two sides to every story and the best thing to do, is for the father to seek legal advice from an attorney privately. Father needs to be willing to share all the flaws that father has, in private, with his attorney, which the mother could throw back at father. An attorney needs to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the client and help the client reach their goals. But the truth of the matter is that in a divorce situation there aren't any winners, there is just the sad break down of a marriage and the best you can do is mitigate the negative impact on the children.
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