Protecting children who are under 18: Advice from a lawyer

Chances are you’re a great parent providing everything your children need from day to day, so you’re probably confident you’re doing all you can in protecting your children who are under 18 years of age.

But have you given them everything they need from a legal point of view?

Here are some of the things that you should consider doing when the time is right to protect your children.

Write a provision in your Will appointing guardians for your young children

Have your thought about who might take care of your children if you were no longer around to look after them?

Consider appointing the person or persons who would raise your children in the way that you would like them to be raised as the guardians of your children if you were no longer around to look after them.

Consider the short term financial requirements of providing for your children

If you and your spouse were no longer around, have you made arrangements for the person or persons that would be looking after your children to have immediate access to some funds to enable them to provide for your children financially?

Consider setting aside an amount of funds in a separate account or setting up a small overdraft facility that you don’t use for any other purpose, but that is available to pay for your children’s needs in the event of your passing.

If you are a woman, consider whether you could provide for your children financially if your husband passed away

Are you a wife and mother living on a farm with your husband in a home that you don’t own?

Or are you a wife and mother living in a house with a mortgage and completely or at least partly reliant upon your husband’s income to pay for that mortgage?

Have you considered what might happen to you and your children if your husband should pass away?

If you are a farmer’s wife, it might not be time for you or your husband to have an interest in the farm, but there are other ways to make sure that you are financially secure, come what may.

If you are a wife that relies on her husband’s income to pay the mortgage, then we can help with advice about measures you can take to provide you and your children with financial security in the event that your husband passed away.

Consider the long term financial requirements of providing for your children

Have you made sufficient financial provision for your children in the event of your death?

The easiest way to do this is by having life insurance in place.

Make sure that your affairs are in order

Having a valid Will, Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive ensures that if you have an accident or illness or pass away and are not able to make decisions for yourself or your children, then at least your Executor or Attorney, depending on the circumstances, can take care of the financial issues.

Protecting children who are under 18: Sending nude photographs using social media

In our modern-day world, it is often seen as cool by pre-teens and teenagers to send nude photographs of themselves to others or to pass on nude photographs of friends to others.

What most children don’t understand is that this is publishing child pornography and is a serious criminal offence.

Protecting children who are under 18: Taking illicit drugs

Illicit drugs are unfortunately becoming common place and children from functional and dysfunctional families alike have become caught up in the notion that it is okay to try it.

What children don’t understand is that it only takes once to get caught by police taking illicit drugs and then their reputation is tarred.

Protecting children who are under 18: Distributing illicit drugs

We have recently become aware of a young man who decided that he would pick up some drugs while he was in Adelaide and bring them back to the local area.

He didn’t think there was any harm in it because he was just doing his mates a favour.

One of his mates was under the age of 18.

What he didn’t realize was that his actions in distributing illicit drugs to a minor carry a severe penalty including a hefty fine and a lengthy term of imprisonment.

Protecting children who are under 18: Driving whilst disqualified

This offence is often thought of as just a traffic offence, but it is considered a very serious offence that carries a jail term unless there are exceptional reasons to refrain from imposing a jail term.

If one of your children loses their driver’s licence, it is extremely important that they do not drive until they have their licence back.

Protecting children who are under 18: Under age sex

The general rule in South Australia (that has some exceptions) is that the age of consent is 17.

This means that if your son is 18 and in a relationship with a 16 year old girl, and if he has sexual intercourse with her, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment if any person reports him to the police.

It doesn’t matter if your son and his girlfriend love each other or if they both say they consented, because the law deems a 16 year old girl as being incapable of providing consent.

Once convicted of a sexual offence, you become a registrable offender under the Child Sex Offenders Registration Act.

This could have a significant and ongoing detrimental effect for the rest of your life.

It is essential that you inform your children of the legal implications of under age sex as they head into their teenage years.

How are you protecting your children who are under 18?

Although many of our suggestions are not particularly pleasant, if you deal with them now you could be protecting your children from financial difficulties or from doing something that they might regret for the rest of their life.