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  • Writer's pictureTess Whitaker

But My Kid is an Adult!

Merriam-Webster defines emancipation "to release from parental care and responsibility and make sui juris", and Illinois General Assembly defines emancipation as attaining the age of 18 and graduating high school or attaining the age of 19. (750 ILCS 5/505(g)).

Why do you care? Why would you argue "but my kid is an adult"?

Your son, Bobby, or daughter, Cindy Lou Who, have always been your pride and joy. Your kid has done well in school, is preparing to graduate and already has the college of their dream chosen. No speeding tickets, no accidents, always obey the curfew laws. In fact, so perfect chores were not an issue, they held an after school job, active in sports and clubs. The parents dream child. And all the build up comes to one tragic screeching halt on one ill-fated day. Your kid not only caused an accident but there are injuries to the two other kids in the car and to the people in the car your kid just hit. Both cars are totaled. And your kid was caught with an open container.

You think to yourself, well, my kid is 18 so not my problem. Sure, the car is still titled to me and I have insurance, so that will cover all that I really need to worry about. And here comes the "but"...

740 ILCS 115 is titled the Parent Responsibility Act. The Act specifically defines a "minor" as "a person who is above the age of 11 years, but not yet 19 years of age." And defines "liability" as "The parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated minor who resides with such parent or legal guardian is liable for actual damages for the willful or malicious acts of such minor which cause injury to a person or property, including damages caused by a minor who has been adjudicated a delinquent for violating section 21-1.3 of the Criminal Code of 1961 or the Criminal Code of 2012." Not only can you, the Parent, be held financially responsible for everything your precious 18 year old just messed up, but can also be held responsible for "reasonable attorney's fees".

Life happens, even when we least expect it, and when it happens the only thing we can do is prepare ourselves through education, expert assistance, and support of friends and family. We are here to help you navigate the shark infested waters of lawsuits and legal action for your best possible outcome. Sure, hiring a lawyer is not cheap, but why risk losing more than necessary by not having an expert by your side?

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