What Qualifies As Parental Neglect?

advice on divorceQuestion:

My wife is allowing my 17-year-old minor stepdaughter to have her boyfriend spend the night in our house.

I do not think this is appropriate. Does this qualify as some sort of parental neglect?



This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide legal advice on divorce.

With regard to neglect, my state has adopted what is referred to as a moderate construction definition. This definition gives courts flexibility when interpreting just what is and is not child neglect.

Specifically, under my state’s laws, neglect has been statutorily defined as both the failure to provide such things as food, medical care, and appropriate supervision, as well as the failure to protect a child from exposure to illegal drugs, illegal activities, or sexual acts or materials that are not age-appropriate.

Under this definition, you may have a claim that your wife is not providing appropriate supervision for your stepdaughter and that she is allowing her to be exposed to sexual acts that are not age-appropriate.

It’s important to note that a court will almost certainly consider your stepdaughter’s age when determining what is and is not appropriate behavior. The court will also likely look closely at the specifics of the behavior being allowed, as well as the degree of supervision being provided by your wife.

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Although I am sure you have already done so, I would recommend speaking with your wife and expressing your concerns about having your stepdaughter’s boyfriend spend the night. Make it clear to her that you feel allowing these sleepovers is inappropriate.

Let her know that you care about your stepdaughter and only want what’s best for her, and that you feel allowing such behavior may be harmful.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell and Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer Christian D. Barnard, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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