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Parental Responsibility in Texas


It is only automatic that a couple assumes liability over each other as soon as they get married. In the same way, when both of the spouses decided to have children and start building the family, the responsibility increases.

This means that the parents will be considered as responsible and accountable to take care of the child and attend to its basic needs as long as they live under the same roof.

What happens if my child causes an accident?

When there are particular acts committed by the children that require legal attention, the responsibility will also be passed on to the parents. This act may either be an accident or an incident committed by the child with intent and malice.

In any case that this happens, there are laws that can serve as reference as to when the parents will be made civilly liable for any damages whatsoever.

In Texas Law, Section 41.001 of the Family Code stipulates that “a parent or other person who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of a child” will be given liability for their actions. In this sense, the liability could extend to the biological parents or to the legal guardian recognized by law as the parent of the child. It is important to note, however, that this particular section in the law only limits the liability of the parents to damage of property alone.

Liabilities of Parents in Texas

The law is not specific in terms of liabilities of the parents when injuries or other acts that result to harm are committed by the child. In this case, the court has the ability to decide on particular cases that do not cover only property damages whether or not the parents may be civilly liable.

The law assumes that any act or damage committed by the child is due to the negligence or the failure of the parent to impose their authority or to discipline the child. This assumption will be carried on as long as the child is still considered a minor or is under the age of 18 years old.

Parents must also keep in mind that the limitations of the statute does not mean that they can escape the liabilities that are not specifically covered by in the law.

There are other laws outside the state of Texas that may be used as reference to whatever act is committed by the child. In this sense, the parents may still be liable.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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