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Can my parents take away clothes that I have bought with my own money?

Mesa, AZ |

My parents decided that they didn't like my wardrobe. So while I was at school, they went through all my clothes and took everything they didn't like. I'm 16. I've never been dress coded at school, I get straight A's, I'm part of two honors societies, and I have never done anything illegal. Most of the clothes I bought with my own money. Can they do this?

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Attorney answers 3


At the end of the day, you still have to live with your parents for quite a while longer, so even if you do have a cause of action, you probably would not want to escalate any conflict here to another level. Maybe a family sit down would be appropriate.

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Shannon Bradley

Shannon Bradley


Yes, your parents can remove items from your wardrobe that they don't like, even if you purchased the clothing with your own money. Because you are still a minor, they have the authority and control to take those actions.


I agree with the prior answer. Although you live under your parents roof, that does not necessarily excuse their actions from removing your personal property they simply don't like; however, you have a couple of years remaining that you will probably live with you parents unless you file for emancipation which I would not recommend. Your best bet would be to work though the issues with your parents to create a better living environment that works for all of you. On a side note, congratulations on your good grades and accomplishments.

Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


If you were 18, you would have a cause of action. As a 16 year old, though, you really don't. Your best bet would be to sit down and discuss the issue with your parents. One of the attorneys at my firm has 16 and 14 year old daughters and when he has issues with them, he encourages them to talk with him and his ex-wife about them. Perhaps if they are open to discuss their problems with your wardrobe choices, you can all reach an acceptable middle ground and maybe they can buy you replacement clothes. Good luck.

Our office, as do many others, provides free consultations to assess your specific legal needs. Feel free to give us a call to set one up at 480-840-3138 or visit We have offices in Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale.

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