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Family law: When a minor child causes property damage

There are many variables to take into consideration when parents' children cause damage to someone's property. Many rules concerning children in British Columbia are governed by family law, yet they can also be enmeshed with other laws in the province including the Young Offenders Act and the Youth Justice Act. A parent or legal guardian, by law, must supervise a minor child and if that child causes damages, the consequences could be rigid.

If a child does cause damage, the court may consider various things like the age and maturity of the child, whether the child has psychological issues, whether the actions by the child caused a loss of property, whether the parent had someone watching the child if he or she was unable at the time and any other matters relevant to each particular case. A parent has a number of defences he or she might use and discussing them with a lawyer is almost always necessary. Getting answers to legal questions is important in these types of serious situations.

A parent or guardian must satisfy the court that he or she was reasonably supervising the child at the time of the incident that caused loss of property. He or she must also show the court that he or she made reasonable efforts to discourage the child from engaging in that activity. A judge will look at individual circumstances when coming to a ruling.

British Columbia residents who find themselves and their child in these types of situations might wish to speak to a lawyer experienced in family law. If the actions cross into other areas of the law, a family law lawyer may be able to offer guidance and advice. It is difficult for parents or guardians when children in their care have issues with the law and getting legal advice may relieve some of the anxiety. 

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