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Do I as a 17 year old have a legal right to my personal documents (ie passport, birth certificate, etc)?

Sacramento, CA |

I'm 17 and need a birth certificate so I can get an ID so I can, in turn, get my passport so I can leave the US as soon as I'm 18. My mom is keeping my birth certificate and last passport from me can I legally get those from her? Or do I not have I right to my documents just because of my age?

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Attorney answers 2


Generally the parent owns all property that belongs to the minor or at the least holds them in trust for the minor.

This is just my opinion and not a comprehensive answer. You assume the risk because this answer may not apply to your situation depending on the facts.


Once you turn 18, you should be given possession of those documents by your mother. If not, it is easy to get a new birth certificate from the county in which you were born. As far as the passport goes, you need to contact the passport agency and ask them what you should do. Maybe they will just issue a new one. Check with them directly.

Michael is in San Jose, California and can be reached at 408-295-4232 or at Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.

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