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Can a 13 yo take someone to court to get back property?

(24 Posts)
IneedAsockamnesty Sun 09-Dec-12 16:42:04

My 13yo brought a playstation 3 with his own money his dad took him to get it but it was totally funded by my son.

Due to a cp related incident he now refuses to see his dad but dad will not allow him to collect the playstation nor will he hand it over.

He has asked me if he can take his dad to court to attempt to have it returned but I'm flummoxed and have no idea if its possible.

I have brought him another one for Christmas but obviously he won't know about this until then,and due to the question I'm now very interested to know if its possible.

So does anybody know?

LadyMaryChristmas Sun 09-Dec-12 16:44:28

It's legally theft, so your son can go to the Police.

Poor lad sad

Numberlock Sun 09-Dec-12 16:46:21

I can't imagine the police taking an interest.

Could you not give your son an early Christmas present if he's missing it so much?

LadyMaryChristmas Sun 09-Dec-12 16:49:33

The Police should, it is theft. There's no harm in contacting them.

Collaborate Sun 09-Dec-12 17:00:58

You could issue proceedings on his behalf as his next friend. If the police get involved I'd be staggered, and as a tax payer very upset. Please don't waste the police's time.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Sun 09-Dec-12 17:03:32

The police would take an interest. Its theft.

All you need to do is call 101 and tell them.

Thats what the Police are there for and Tax payers don't get a choice on what their tax is used for.

STIDW Sun 09-Dec-12 19:25:13

It's a family law matter rather than the criminal offence of theft that would justify involving the police. Parental Responsibility gives parents equal "rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property."

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 09-Dec-12 19:28:14

I did discuss the matter with a senior police officer ( please don't think I was wasting there time the police officer was not on duty and just so happens to be my sons grand dad) he said that yes the police could take a report but that they are unlikely to be able to resolve the situation,

Because dad will just claim he owns the item and that as he retained the receipt it would be difficult to prove otherwise as it was a cash purchase rather than by a card.

My son is extremely angry as in his eyes if you take or keep something that does not belong to you then that is stealing and you shouldn't ever do it,

He has this idea that if he spoke to a judge ( he has a very strange liking for judges thinks they are wonderful) showed them a bank statement proving he took the money out of his own bank account the same day and in the same town just a few minutes before the receipt shows the playstation being purchased for the same sum as was withdrawn then the judge would tell his dad to give it back.

I'm half wondering if I should let him try it just to see what would happen, he's has ASD but is very confident when talking to adults and wouldn't dream of not following the law.

Incidentally I've also got him another decent gift as I didn't feel that replacing a stolen item should be his main present.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 09-Dec-12 19:34:34

Stidw back in 2000 was pr automatic as soon as you married the mother or did it depend on completing the pr by consent as a result of marriage form?

I ask because after we married (after the birth and registration) dad refused to complete a form that I was sent by the court office, and I'm not sure if he has pr or not.

On another note does that in relation to his property bit really mean that in reality dad can take and keep anything that is the child's property?

Numberlock Sun 09-Dec-12 20:50:16

Surely the actual play station isn't the issue here...

STIDW Sun 09-Dec-12 20:51:43

When a father was not married at the time of a child’s birth, and their name is not on the birth certificate, they acquire PR by marrying the mother and having their name put on the birth certificate. Putting the name on the birth certificate is a formality and not having his name on the certificate won't really effect him having PR.

When agreement can't be reached about a child's property or any other issue relating to PR it is open to either parent to apply to court for a judicial decision. As Collaborate (take note, he is a solicitor I am not) said you could start proceedings on your son's behalf as his litigation friend. Children need to protected from any crossfire and actively involving them in proceedings is frowned upon by the courts.

It would be reasonable to write formally and politely to your ex saying how upset your child is and you are concerned that by not returning the Playstation your ex is bringing about/furthering his own rejection. The long term consequences of that could have a serious long term impact on your son's emotional wellbeing and offering mediation as a way forward.

There is an expectation that parents try to sort things out before involving the court and in most cases parents are now expected to at least attended a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting before hearing a case. If mediation doesn't come off you have the letter as evidence that you have been reasonable and tried to resolve the issue on behalf of your son.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 09-Dec-12 21:52:33

Numberlock. Yep the playstation is the sole issue, what do you think the issue is?

Thanks for that stidw that was informative and useful. The likelihood of either of us ending up in mediation is slim as he has never turned up before, he is also not bothered about no contact he has adult children from a previous relationship who have nothing to do with him due to his behaviour and ds is much better off if he is kept away from him and his gf.

The question would never have entered my head if ds had not directly asked me I was just interested in knowing the answer

cumfy Mon 10-Dec-12 23:36:19

Small claims court.

Would be simple and potentially good experience.
And it would certainly put the wind up DP.grin

Is DP planning to just give it to him at Xmas or something ?

STIDW Tue 11-Dec-12 11:54:24

There is no substitute for legal advice. My understanding is in England & Wales to apply to the small claims court someone must owe you money and you must be over 18 years of age.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 11-Dec-12 12:48:58

Cumfy absolutely not. He is not only intending on totally keeping the playstation but he has also contacted all his family ( my sons grandparents and aunts/ uncles) and told them not to send Christmas cards or gifts to dc's actual home but to send them to his so dc Cannot access them without going to his house but even if he does go to his house he will not be allowed to leave with any of his own things not even a Christmas card.

It's frustrating because my dc saved up for ages to get it ( using pocket money given by me and birthday and Christmas money as well as a gift card from me to buy the games) his dad has never even given him pocket money or anything like that.and dc was so excited when he realised he had enough saved to get it. When dad agreed to take him to buy it dad made a point of saying it was his and he could bring it home if he wanted but then changed his mind when his gf told him that her granddaughter wanted to play it when she comes over.

STIDW Tue 11-Dec-12 12:59:01

I can understand your frustration. Once I bought our teenage son an expensive Gortex jacket which was essential for three or four day expeditions on Scottish Mountains. It was "lost" when our son was staying at my ex-husband's only to resurface about a year later when I bumped into my ex wearing it!

RyleDup Tue 11-Dec-12 13:05:51

Your ex sounds like an arse. Can you contact his relatives and tell them the situation, so they send any gifts straight to ds?

cumfy Tue 11-Dec-12 14:44:50

STIDW
I'm sure that OP can represent DS.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 11-Dec-12 15:28:12

The difficulty I think would be is that

A. Does a under 16/18 have legal ownership of anything

B. if PR gives rights duties ect over a child and there property, I expect that would mean a parent with pr has the right to do what ever they want with a child's toys ect.

But I'm not a solicitor. Either way its a very interesting subject.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 11-Dec-12 15:42:53

Ryle

his eldest daughter has spoken to them about it and explained what was happening all his parents did was phone him and he said he would pass them on but obviously he never did.

They will not talk to dc unless his dad is also there and dc cannot write, and them and I have no relationship of any sort.

His other ex wife who is very very friendly with them even offered to take dc shopping or pass stuff on to dc if they sent them to her but they did not wish to over ride dad. Dad tends to treat anything given to dc by his side of the family as effectively his own property even once using gift money to buy an item that he then claimed was his own birthday gift to dc ( item solely funded by dc's gift money dad did not add to it).

What I normally do now is I just give dc about £80 extra as that's about the combined total of what they send dad. And I claim it's from them not me.

cumfy Tue 11-Dec-12 19:02:49

Sock
A. Yes 13 yo owns property.
B. PR is a commonsense framework, it doesn't block laws applying

Otherwise a parent or guardian could for instance steal a £10000000 inheritance off of their child and claim "PR".
It doesn't work like that.

Anyhow, dealing with an arsehole like this, the PS3 is probably the least of your worries.thanks
I just thought going via small claims might give DS a sense of control and justice.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 11-Dec-12 19:31:57

That's what I'm thinking but only because dc actually asked the direct question himself.

First of all he asked if he could phone the police, I said I'm not sure they would listen but let's ask granddad ( the policeman) then he said well I want to take him to court can I do that.

Dad is a bit of arsehole, I've had years of having to physically carry dc to his car kicking and screaming but dad used to threaten to take me to court if I didn't. but due to something that happened a few months ago and dc's school ( none mainstream private school that employs proper social workers and medical staff) Being informed by dc. i was able to get the contact order set aside.

Basically in all likelihood he will never have to see dad again so will probably never need to deal with him again. its just such a shame that dad acts as a gateway to all his family and forgets that they are also dc's family.

Could dc engage a solisiter in his own right? Because it may help if someone like that is able to advise him and he could decide what to do.

kittycat68 Thu 13-Dec-12 08:54:24

op. have been in a very simular situation.
we were told by police and solicitor that as much as the child is angry and upset legally the father can do what he likes with the item cos he has PR.
My DS no longer has any contact with his dad either.
You both have to accept what has happened and the item is not going to come back the father is an A*****e and it is he has lost contact with his child because of it.(and other things).
clearly the playstation is more important to him than his own childs happiness you are best rid.
Try to get pass the issue, it will only serve to make you both more stressed and upset and thats what the father wants, dont play his game. good luck

HopingItllBeOK Sun 16-Dec-12 01:05:36

I am not in any way legally trained, so this is completely a lay persons opinion, but in your circumstances what I would do is this: since you said your son didn't want contact with his father, and now there is a CP issue that means he will not be forced to have contact, I would suggest to your son that he views the playstation as 'buying his dad off', that he lets his father have the playstation as that will mean he doesnt have to have any more to do with him if he doesn't want to. A trade off, if you will.

You could probably fob your son off on the legal front for now, by telling him it probably isn't a police matter but law firms are all shutting down for Xmas now so you can't do anything about it until the new year. Then when he gets a new one from your for Xmas, you can tell him that he doesn't need the old one now so if he is willing to let go of something he doesn't need, it will mean a clean break for him.

I sympathise, I really do. I also have a 13 year old with asd who has a deadbeat dad. My son has a very clear sense of right and wrong and it is just heartbreaking seeing my boy confused by his father's actions but he responds really well to both logic and things which directly benefit him, so I have found if I can phrase things so that he doesn't feel like he is being too unfairly done by or there is some win in it for him, I can mitigate his father's asshattery so it isn't too distressing for him.

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