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What Illinois family law says about leaving a minor child alone

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Most people are familiar with the Christmas film "Home Alone." In this case, parents inadvertently leave their son home while jetting off to Paris for the holidays. However, what does family law in Illinois say about leaving a child home alone? Legally, in Illinois, a child can be left home alone when he or she is 14 years of age or older. 

Specifically, the law in Illinois states that any minor under the age of 14 years may remain at home without supervision for a reasonable period of time provided his or her mental or physical health, safety, or welfare is not at risk. Still, at this age, a minor cannot be left alone overnight. Since no two children are alike, it's imperative a parent or guardian makes this decision based on more than just the child's age.

Parents or guardians should also give consideration to things like the maturity level of the child, the length the time the child will be on his or her own, and whether other children will be left alone as well. Furthermore, parents should consider the safety of the neighborhood and whether the child feels safe on his or her own. A child's safety and well-being need to be considered above all else, and parents may need to have someone available to check on the child. If a parent or guardian has any qualms, it is best not to leave a child unattended.

Illinois residents who have questions regarding issues pertaining to minors may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer may be the best go-to person to answer questions that may seem unclear. A parent or guardian may wish to forgo leaving a minor child unattended until he or she understands the law in this respect. 

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