Divorce and Parents Liability for Childrens Torts
At the Orange County Law Offices of David P Schwarz we have litigated numerous divorce case and protected parents from their childrens tortious activity. Please contact our office for a consultation at 949 735 9266. We can also be reached on the web or via email at email@example.com.
A Divorce lawyer will advise their client that Minors are liable for their own wrongs—special rules: Minors (under age 18) are civilly liable for their own tortious conduct, but certain legal principles apply to measure and limit a minor's liability. [Fam.C. § 6600]
Limited punitive damages exposure: Minors are not liable for punitive damages unless, at the time of their wrongful act, they were “capable of knowing that the act was wrongful.” [Fam.C. § 6600]
A Divorce Attorney will advise their clients that Negligence liability for a tort committed by their child is tested by lower standard of care: For purposes of negligence liability, minors are not held to the same standard of conduct as adults. Rather, they are required to exercise only that degree of care ordinarily exercised by minors of like maturity, intelligence and capacity under similar circumstances.
In effect, the standard of care imposed on minors may be likened to a “sliding scale”—the younger the child, the more leeway in measuring duty and breach.
Exception—“adult activities”: Minors engaged in activities normally engaged in only by adults and requiring adult qualifications (e.g., operating motor vehicles) are held to the standard of care of an adult under similar circumstances.
At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will advise our clients that a party can Maximize recovery by pleading parent liability: Given the statutory restriction on a punitives recovery and the lower “yardstick” for measuring a child's breach of duty, plaintiffs injured by a child's misconduct may be able to “maximize” their recovery if there is also a cognizable claim against the parents.
A Divorce Attorney will advise their clients that the general rule of No vicarious liability by reason of parent-child relationship: The parent-child relationship does not itself render parents vicariously liable for their minor child's torts. Any vicarious liability attaches to the parents only under general tort law principles (e.g., potential respondeat superior liability if child is parent's agent or employee).
Recognized theories of liability against parents: However, parental liability may lie under any of the following circumstances:
- The parent has knowledge of the child's prior misconduct;
- The parent signed the child's driver's license application or the child drives the parent's car with permission;
- The child is guilty of willful misconduct;
- The child was given access to firearms;
- The child defaced another's property with graffiti; or
- The child is convicted of a crime and ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we are experienced Divorce Lawyers who have litigated numerous cases involving parents liability for childrens torts. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 for a consultation. We can also be reached via web and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.