Laws on Children Sharing a Room
By Jayne Thompson
Updated November 30, 2019
No matter where a person lives in the United States, it is not illegal for children to share a bedroom either at home, in a hotel room or when visiting a relative's house. This is true regardless of the children’s ages and genders. Different rules apply to foster children, however, and tenants should consider their state's overcrowding laws.
No Rules Against Bedroom Sharing
This rule is the same regardless of the children’s ages and whether the children are the same or opposite gender. It's perfectly possible for a 5-year-old female to share a room with a 12-year-old male, for example, if the parents think this is appropriate.
Different Rules for Foster Children
The one exception is for foster children.
Foster parents can also expect limits on the number of children sharing a room. In California, for example, foster parents cannot place
Child Custody Arrangements After Divorce
One situation where parents often worry about room sharing is when seeking child custody as part of a divorce settlement. Here, the courts will look at the family size and the economics of the situation, such as what housing the family can afford, before deciding whether to let same or opposite-sex siblings share a bedroom. Child custody orders
However, a court will take the child’s safety into consideration. For example, a court may decide that allowing a toddler to share a room with a teenage sibling who has a history of violent or sexual behavior is not appropriate.
State Overcrowding Laws
Some states and some housing authorities have codes that regulate how many people can share a living space to prevent overcrowding. While these rules do not specifically prevent children from sharing a bedroom, they may do so indirectly.
California, for example, has informally adopted a "two-plus-one" policy,
Overcrowding laws are not the same as bedroom-sharing restrictions, however, and landlords
A former real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and corporate communications, drawing on 17 years’ experience in the legal sector. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Birmingham and a Masters in International Law from the University of East London.