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Old 06-05-2010, 02:11 PM
 
3 posts, read 14,772 times
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Default Can a parent take a child's property away?

A friend has a 16 year old child that is very uncooperative, getting into trouble, threatening her and her daughter and generally destroying their family life and home.

His bedroom is beyond a mess. It's literally difficult to move in the room because there is so much stuff piled everywhere. She has told him that she is going to go in and clean his room and get rid of everything.

He, of course, has stated that she has no right to touch his property. I think he actually has no right to any property in the house and that everything actually belongs to his mother. I believe she has the right to do whatever she pleases with "his" property.

The parents are divorced and the mother has full custody of the children. The father has no custody at all. He has now called and told her that she had better not take away anything from the child that he gave to his son, or he will take her to court. Again, I believe that she has the right to determine what happens to any property in her home. I believe the father has no right to tell her to leave it alone.

Of course, my opinion really means nothing. It comes down to the law. Anyone else here have experience with these issues? I just want to help her find factual information to determine what her rights are in her home. Any resources would be especially appreciated.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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I hate to break it to you, but minors can own property. Look up the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.

The act protects gifts given to minors. While it's generally money or investments, the law could be applied to any gifts.

Your wife might take them from your son, but she would have to preserve the property to give back to the son. If she doesn't, the ex could take her to court.

Even if the ex doesn't win in court, you and your wife would have hefty legal fees fighting it.

I personally would NOT take property given by another parent. I morally could not do that.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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Thanks for your reply. Especially for the direct reference. That will help a lot.

I get your point about morally not doing it. She doesn't want to do it, but the kid is out of control and has nowhere to turn. The father is contributing to the harm he is doing.

She's just my friend, not my wife.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:03 PM
 
Location: NE Oklahoma
1,036 posts, read 1,673,983 times
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Take the stuff that his father gave him and give it back to the father. Tell him to keep it at his house. Box up all the crap he has in his room and make him earn it back 1 box at a time. Let him keep clothes that are not fancy (stylish), his bed, linens, desk, school books. Things he absolutely needs. If he bought and paid for anything else, let him keep it. Set down rules for what he has to do to earn the boxes.
One time I did this to my daughter. She had to keep everything in her room picked up, laundry put up for 3 days to earn another box. If it went on the floor and I saw it, it became mine. She had to make her bed daily, take a shower, all the normal stuff. She got all her stuff back eventually (about 2 months) a box at a time.

I suppose he could call Child Welfare or something. What is he gonna say she took his X-Box? He must have food, clothing, and shelter adequately and not be abused or neglected. No part of that does it say he has to have a phone, TV, radio, video games, skate board, or crap piled around his room. If nothing else it isn't hygienic to have such a mess. If the father wants to give her such a hard time let him put up with the mess and destruction.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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Also, just want to point out that by property here, I mean things like old clothes, magazines, toys. Things like that. My advise to her was also to tell the father to keep stuff at his house, not hers, if they don't want it to be removed. I would think that would eliminate most legal worries.

I wrote this before reading your reply okpondlady. I'm with you on this one. She is trying to make sure her property and the life of herself and her daughter are respected. She is trying to get her house and life in order and demand that he respect that if he is around.

Last edited by thanksforthehelp; 06-05-2010 at 03:14 PM..
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thanksforthehelp View Post
Things like that. Also, just want to point out that by property here, I mean things like old clothes, magazines, toys.
The Act protects gifts under $13,000. It could be argued that these meager items fall within that protection.

I realize that it's unlikely, but he can very well cost her money fighting it in court. That's not an expense I would want to have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thanksforthehelp View Post
My advise to her was also to tell the father to keep stuff at his house, not hers, if they don't want it to be removed. I would think that would eliminate most legal worries.
Agreed. Giving the items to the father would eliminate most legal worries. Your initial post simply said she would get rid of everything.

Please warn your friend, 16 year olds have a right to decide which parent they wish to live with in most states.

As a result, custody becomes sort of irrelevant at various ages in different states.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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I will sometimes temporarily take away my 11-year-old's electronics and other much-loved items when she isn't taking care of them or when she's been particularly disrespectful. I just keep them in a safe place and give them back after a few days to a week or whenever she has gotten her act together.

Maybe something less drastic like this would work better than cleaning everything out of his room.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,168 posts, read 14,259,512 times
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Whose property is the house? The kid's? No? The mom's? Yes? Well then. The kid's bedroom is not the kid's property. Last I heard, the kid doesn't have any -right- to use his mother's property as his personal storage bin. Tell him he can keep anything and everything he wants that's his. Just not on her property. He's welcome to have it shipped to his father's house. Everything. Every last stitch of clothing, down to his dirty socks.

OR - he can pretend to be a near-adult, living in someone else's house, abide by the rules of the person who owns the property in which he resides, get a job, contribute to the household expenses, and THEN he can PAY RENT to use the property in which he currently resides, that is not his.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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She has the right to remove property from her home. It is my belief that the husband would have to set up a UGMA trust in order for any of the property to qualify and then not until the state's age of turnover, usually 21. It would also require the minor to sign a tax return from the age of 14. And its my understanding that securities only apply, not real estate or "gifts." I could be wrong of course.

Clear his room out and send the gifts back to Dad.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:21 PM
 
40,224 posts, read 43,061,503 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hml1976 View Post
She has the right to remove property from her home. It is my belief that the husband would have to set up a UGMA trust in order for any of the property to qualify and then not until the state's age of turnover, usually 21. It would also require the minor to sign a tax return from the age of 14. And its my understanding that securities only apply, not real estate or "gifts." I could be wrong of course.
You are wrong on quite a few points. The UTMA was created to make it easier to protect property of children under 13k. Trusts aren't required. Real Estate is included in the protection. Whether he wins or not, the father could tie the mother up in court arguing that any gifts under 13k are protected----especially since the details of UTMA vary from state to state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hml1976 View Post
Clear his room out and send the gifts back to Dad.
Giving the property to the father is okay. Throwing it away isn't.
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