This week, our family lawyers discuss the legality of room sharing. Specifically a teenager sharing one with her parents.
The Question: Is it legal for a 13 year old girl to share a room with her parents in Maryland? (If legal, are there situations where it wouldn't be?)
"Is it legal for a 13-year-old girl to have to share a room with her parents?"
The Answer: A 13 year old can share a room. Obviously, if there are allegations of abuse or if there are too many people living in a house, it is problematic. There could be CPS issues, but it is not illegal.
Sharing a room is a time-honored tradition among siblings. Growing up, if you had brothers and sisters, there was a good chance you shared a room with them. Usually, sisters share a bedroom with sisters and brothers with brothers, but it is not unusual for brothers and sisters to share a room.
The situation of two opposite gendered children sharing a room is not necessarily in the child's best interest. If the kids are over 5-years-old Child Protective Services, CPS could require separate rooms if they receive a report about high occupancy living arrangements.
Depending on the living space, it can be necessary to share bedrooms. And sometimes living areas are shared among more than one family unit. It is not uncommon for immediate and extended family members to share a homestead. In cases like these, sometimes a family shares one bedroom, while another family shares the other bedroom.
The poster's question specifically talks about a teenager sharing a room with her parents, similar to the above-stated situation. One family unit sharing a bedroom, so Mom, Dad, and daughter are all cohabitating. Again, this is not illegal. Not ideal, but not unlawful.
Maybe abnormal to some, but many ethnicities worldwide have whole families, immediate to extended, living together in one house. There is more than the nuclear family model.
You also need to consider the financial situation. Sometimes, a person can only afford a small space that does not have all the rooms needed, so room sharing becomes a fact of life.
Owning a home, especially in Maryland, is quite expensive, so sharing the cost of homeownership with your family members eases that financial burden. But, problems can arise when too many people live in one house. The lack of privacy and personal space can lead to unwanted contact between family members, making things awkward. And those situations may lead to CPS receiving an abuse of a minor report.
Since Maryland law looks out for the best interest of its most vulnerable citizens, children, and the elderly, allegations of abuse or assault against them are taken seriously. Often, either the child or abuser is removed from the home to protect the child's best interest.
It may not be optimal for a teenage girl to share a bedroom with her parents, but unless a parent abuses her, commits an act of domestic violence or there are way too many people living in an apartment, there is nothing illegal about it.
She may not like having little to no privacy or personal space like a teen, but Mom and Dad are probably doing what they can to provide a roof over their daughter's head. With the impact COVID-19 has had on Maryland families, many have had to come up with new living arrangements. The situation is temporary, and once the family financially recovers, they move into a better living space.
All in all, there is nothing wrong or illegal about sharing a room in a house or apartment, whether it's siblings or parents and children, but there are situations that could arise leading to a legal issue from room sharing.
Our automatic disclaimer: We're lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We're providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual's attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a "real" response!