Contrary to popular belief, there is no set law in Colorado that gives a specific age when it is legal to leave a child home alone at home. Many people go by the Colorado Child Labor Law and consider 12 the minimum acceptable age. However, there are many other factors to consider, including the child’s maturity level and whether he will be in charge of anyone else, such as younger siblings or when babysitting.
However, because there is no definitive age and the circumstances and child’s maturity level factor in so greatly, parents must be very careful. Leaving a child home alone who is not ready for the responsibility could lead to someone getting hurt, damage to property or charges of child neglect.
It is the latter that can be especially troublesome for those currently going through a divorce or custody battle or are in a high-conflict coparenting situation. Allegations of child neglect — let alone actual criminal charges — could be grounds for an immediate review of the current custody situation. If the judge feels that the children are in danger or that a parent acted negligently, he may choose to set up temporary orders until the case can be reviewed more thoroughly.
Whether your ex is accusing you of neglect or abuse or you are worried about your children possibly being in danger while in the other parent’s case, it’s important to understand the severity of these kinds of allegations and how they could affect your current situation. A family law attorney can advise you of your options and any actions you should take.
Source: Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families, “Frequently Asked Questions about Child Abuse and Neglect,” accessed May 25, 2016