Do I have to return belongings of a minor if the parents refuse to pick them up?

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2012

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Do I have to return belongings of a minor if the parents refuse to pick them up?

My adopted son’s sister who is 17, came to stay with us after her mother kicked her out of her house. She stayed with us for a little over 3 weeks, during that time she moved back home once. After her parents failed to help support their daughter, we had no choice but to make her go back home. The parents refuse to come get their daughter’s belongings ( clothes, shoes, purses etc). We live 4 hours away. Do I legally have to drive the 4 hours and give the girl’s stuff back and or ship it or since the parents refuse to pick it up, I can just toss it?

Asked on June 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would not toss the minor child's belongings that were left behind. After all, the items belong to a person under the age of 18 years of age. The best way to have the items out of your possession and placed in a safe holding place is simply turn them over to law enforcement and see what ends up happening to the items.

You do not have to legally ship the items to the girl's parents or ship the items to them. However, if you wish to, you can do so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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