By Amy Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As college acceptances roll in and parents think about getting their college kids an emergency credit card, they want to know: are parents legally responsible for the debts of their kids?

Isn’t it amazing that a parent’s definition of ’emergency’ means life threatening; to kids it means low prices on new releases. So are parents liable for an enormous bill rung up by their minor child? Almost always.

For college-age kids whose parents have an established credit card account and add their kid as a permissive user, they are responsible for the charges he racks up. Where an adult child applies for his own credit card and the parents are not co-signors, debts he accrues are his own responsibility.

Debit cards, with only a certain amount of money deposited for real emergencies may be a good compromise. For the first 18 years, they were your responsibility – now make sure their financial mistakes are their own responsibility.

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