Parents have certain legal responsibilities, even if they are teens. They must care for their child physically, emotionally, and financially.

The law says all parents must do certain things for their children, including

  • provide food, clothing, shelter, education, and needed health care,
  • keep their child safe, and
  • give their child a safe place to live.

If you are the person who gives birth, your legal duties start when the baby is born. For a “dad”, these duties start when the law sees him as the legal father.

Even if a parent does not want to be involved, they are still responsible for supporting the child.

Once the law recognizes parents, they have the right to be with, care for, and make decisions about their child’s life such as education, health care, religion, and where to live. This is true even if the parents are under age 18.

The requirement of parents to support their child ends when the child

  • turns 18 (or 19 if still in high school)
  • gets married
  • is emancipated

If the child has a disability, the support may last longer.

If the parents want to, they can make an agreement to support a child longer.


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