Is it legal to have an 18year old stay at a family’s house temporarily when the family has a 15 year old and they are dating?

They do not engage in any sexual activity. If someone were to report it, and call child services on the parents of the 15 year old, would the parents have their child taken away for it?

Asked on September 15, 2012 under Criminal Law, Kentucky

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Allowing the 18 year boyfriend to move it could certainly raise questions and provoke an investigation by child services.  Courts tend to frown on activities that facilitate (even accidentally) teenager sexual activities.  Even though it could provoke an investigation, the 15 year old is not likely to be taken away only on these facts.  They may come in an order the parents to kick boyfriend out and have them take a parenting class, but termination of parental rights is not usually the punishment for this type of infraction. 

However, if the 15 year and the 18 year old "hook up" while everyone is sound asleep and then the 15 year old ends up pregnant, then this could become a game changer-- because facially it could be argued that the parents aided the 18 year old's contact with the 15 year old, thereby assisting in the commission of a felony offense. 

If the parents are divorced, then one parent could use the same argument to go ask for custody of the 15 year old-- and could potentially get cusotdy with the right judge.

If the parent or parents want to truly avoid any issues or risks associated with an expensive investigation or custody suit, then the best remedy is to find another relative for the 18 year old to live with.  When it comes to teenagers in close proximity, the parents may be engaging in wishful thinking on the "no sexual activity" presumption.


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