Can my ex-husband legally leaveour kids alone in his place when they are over there for visitation weekends?

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Can my ex-husband legally leaveour kids alone in his place when they are over there for visitation weekends?

My ex-husband constantly leaves my 10 and 8 year-old sons in his apartment alone when they go over for bi-weekly visitation. I don’t feel comfortable that they know what to do if anything bad were to happen (e.g. fire, intruder, accidents, etc.). Is it legal to leave them alone to fend for themselves? His defense is that he’s usually not gone for too long; however, a spark can trigger a fire in less than a minute; it doesn’t take long for an accident to take place either.

Asked on March 29, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While some states regulate this matter, TX does not. In other words, there is no statute mandating when a child can/cannot be left home alone.  Obviously, however, there are laws concerning child endangerment.  It all depends on how mature and responsible the individual child is and the surrounding circumstances: time of day; length of time; general safety of neighborhood; whether other children are present; availability of nearby responsible adult; parental response time in event of emergency, etc.
At this point you may want to speak directly to a divorce attorney as to this, or at east [petiton the court to address this issue.

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