Can CPS Take Your Kid for Living in an RV

Can CPS Take Your Kid for Living in an RV

If you’re tight on the budget but still want to travel the world with comfort, RVs have always got your back. Living in an RV can be a handy option if you want to downsize your life expenses. But things aren’t that simple if you’re a parent.

As a child bearer, you’re bound to specific responsibilities that you need to fulfill as per the law. So, the real question is: if you plan to start living in an RV, can you bring your child on board?

Speaking generally, living in an RV with your little one isn’t illegal. However, you need to fulfill your child’s legal requirements. For instance, your kid must be enrolled in a school to complete their education. Or perhaps, you can take charge of homeschooling them. If you don’t comply with these requirements, the CPS or Child Protective Services may take your child.

This article will discuss the legalities of full-time living in an RV with your child. While we are at it, you’ll also know how RV living can impact your child’s custody. 

Can You Legally Live in an RV with Your Child?

Living in an RV can be a liberating experience where monthly rents and mortgage payments can no longer bother you. In addition, you may never get bored of staying in one place since you can travel freely across the country. The best part is that you can double the adventure by bringing your child with you. But is it legal?

Yes. There are no certain laws that can shackle you from living full-time in an RV with your children. In fact, you can enjoy the freedom of living in other motor homes, such as camper trailers and travel trailers throughout the United States. 

This, on one side, is terrific news. However, the situation isn’t free of ambiguity. 

The US law demands compulsory education for children aged between 6 to 16 years. This rule dates back to the nineteenth century, when children were forced to labor. Therefore, you can not live in an RV without providing your child with compulsory education. 

What Can You Do?

If your kid is about to turn 16, the first thing you can do is wait for your child’s 16th birthday and then resume your plans to live in an RV. However, if your child is already over 16, the law for compulsory education no longer applies to them. 

Of course, a typical high school student may graduate by the age of 17 or 18, but speaking legally, they can leave school once they’re 16 years old.  

But what if your child has a long way to go to be 16? Should you just give up your dream of living in an RV with them? Not necessarily. As per law, your child needs to receive an education, but that doesn’t mean they have to sit in a classroom exclusively.

Therefore, you can enroll your kid in online classes or homeschool them yourself.

Are There Any Exemptions to the Compulsory Education Law?

The compulsory education law may not apply to your minor children under a few conditions, including:

  • The route for your child to or from their school is relatively dangerous
  • The school is far from the child’s home and does not come under the statute-provided recommendations for distance. 
  • You believe that your child’s class content does not abide by your religious beliefs
  • Your child is mentally or/and physically disabled
  • There’s an impending threat to your child’s safety 

Although these exemptions aren’t guaranteed, you do have a chance to hold up in a law court. For instance, if you have a physically or mentally disabled child, you still have to provide your child with compulsory education since many private and public schools offer special education.

Will CPS Take Away Your Kid If You Live in an RV?

The CPS or Child Protective Services is a US government body investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect. The service is also known as the Department of Social Services (DSS) or the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in some states.

Let’s assume your ex-partner or spouse comes to know that you’re living with your child in an RV. If they feel concerned for the kid’s safety, they have a right to call CPS. So, what should you expect to happen? Will the law bar you from living in a motor home, and will you lose the child?

Well, living in an RV will not be the only reason for CPS to take away your kid as far as you’re fulfilling the child’s needs. In contrast, if your child is not getting the proper attention, care and nutrition they need, things can get tough for you.

CPS may also be concerned about the environmental dangers surrounding your child. Moreover, if your RV becomes infested with pests, you should be prepared to bid your child farewell. That’s because the CPS would not tolerate your child living in such a filthy environment. 

Furthermore, basic sanitary facilities are also essential for keeping your child. So, you must ensure that your RV has a clean and functional bathroom. 

Besides, abandoning your child for extended durations can also be the reason behind you losing your child to CPS. 

Similarly, if you can’t provide your child with the necessary medical care, food, and clothing, it is considered child neglect that may lead to malnourishment. If such conditions are found true for your case, the CPS won’t take long to take your child away. 

Can You Lose Your Child’s Custody for Living in an RV?

Perhaps you’re living in an RV in the effect of a recent divorce. Your new lifestyle may simplify plenty of things in your life. But can this home on wheel life cost you your child’s custody?

The answer is yes. It certainly may affect your chances of winning or retaining the custody.

Since the judge may seek to choose which parent is more suitable for the child’s interest, the court may evaluate your ability to provide for your kid. Typically, they may favor the parent who resides in proximity to the child’s beloved family members. 

The parent who can provide the child with stable living conditions, such as recommended home and school routines, is more likely to be rewarded with custody. 

Although your life in an RV may appear stable and comforting to you, the judge may not perceive it the same way. Instead, they may conclude that your ex-partner is a better primary guardian for the child. 

So, evaluate your options carefully before making an RV your new home.

Final Words

Living in an RV itself is not inherently illegal for you to keep your child. However, you might have to face several challenges along the way. In fact, all factors may eventually convince you to rethink your idea of living in an Rv with your children. 

For instance, if your child is below the age of 16, your biggest challenge will be figuring out alternate teaching arrangements. These may include online classes or homeschooling. 

The US laws may regard your living circumstances as a state of homelessness. As a result, you may become unable to retain your child’s custody. Moreover, if you fail to fulfill your child’s nutritional and other needs, living with your child in an RV may not be the best option for you.