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For National Youth Rights Day, I thought I'd share something I read lately on Quora:
My mother says that since I am a minor I don't have the legal right to own anything. Is this true?
As punishment/discipline, she has taken money from me or thrown away my things. When I argue with her about it, she says she can do whatever she wants because everything I own is legally hers since I’m only 14. I live in America.
Bianca Delmonde, CEO
Written Apr 2
Unfortunately for your mother, she is wrong! Even as a minor you have the right to own any property. Video games, books, [private]s… If you bought it or someone gave it to you then it is legally yours. The same applies to any money you have.
It is called the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act and if your mother throws away your stuff or takes your money you could technically go to the police and file a complaint for theft. Your mother could then be arrested and you’d likely end up in foster care. This act deals with any property worth up to $14.000. So, if you buy a computer worth $10.000 then that would be legally yours.
Now, your mother does have the right to take away your property and money and preserve it to give it back later! Your mother also have the right to take anything away from you that she provided to you, instead of giving. It’s a very small difference but it means that any clothes she gave you, the bed you sleep in, the TV she bought for you and anything else that she provided is still hers, not yours! This includes any money that she gave to you like your allowance. But if you have a job and earn your own money then that is yours. If you buy things from the money you earned then that is yours. And if someone other than your parents gave you anything then that is yours.
So if she takes away your allowance then she can do that. But if you worked and earned e.g. $50 then she can’t take that money. The difference between providing you with things and money and giving you things and money. It is a very thin line.
Now, instead of arguing about this with your mother, you will have to consider why your mother is doing this. If this is as a kind of punishment then tough! That’s part of growing up and definitely not worth any complex legal problems. But if she’s just doing it because she likes to take your stuff and money then you can legally file a complaint with the police and they would take you in protected custody. And then your problems will only start!
Once in protected custody the police will examine what is going on exactly. They will appoint a different legal guardian and you will be moved away from home and possibly into foster care or some institute for minors. You would not have any contact with your mother for a while and she will have to hire a lawyer for herself as this will go through court. You yourself will likely be given a lawyer too and you will spend weeks providing statements, away from friends and relatives and surrounded by strangers, whom will decide about your fate. They will check if your mother has abused you in any way by taking away your money and things and if that is the case, you will be taken away from her. You would likely be relocated away from family and friends.
That’s not really what you want to do so again, if your mother does this as punishment then mention the act I just told you about and tell her that you can legally own things and money, under specific conditions. She has the right to take things away as long as she preserves it. But things she just provided are hers, not yours.
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