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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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I am working with a 23 year old woman who would like to sue

Customer Question

I am working with a 23 year old woman who would like to sue her parents. Her parents took her out of school from ages 10-17 years old to babysit her younger sister. They told the school district that they were moving back to Mexico so the district never followed up and checked on her. She went back to an alternative high school at 17 and graduated with honors 1.5 years later. She left home for good approximately 2 years ago and has not spoken to any of her family since. Do you know of any cases where a child has sue her parents due to child abuse/neglect, truancy, etc? Is it possible do you think for her to sue her parents? She mainly wants to do it to achieve some sort of justice for them robbing her of all those years of schooling and forcing her to clean and baby sit her little sister who was 5 months when she started baby-sitting her at 10 years old.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your friend's situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Unfortunately, what the parents did constituted a crime under state law, it did not give rise to a civil action by the young lady against her parents. Even today, your friend has no legal basis to make a civil claim against her parents for what they did to her in terms of taking her out of school and forcing her to care for her younger sister. I'm sorry.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---three stars or more. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.

Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Your answer is incorrect. There are compulsory education laws that require a child to go to school between the ages of 6 and 16. So , they definitely broke those laws.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=120a.22

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

Perhaps there is a misunderstanding here. I intended to, and thought that I did, clearly state that that the parents violated the law. They absolutely did!

However a parent's violation of the compulsory education laws does not give rise to a civil cause of action by the effected child against the parents. The violation of the law can lead only to civil penalties or even jail for the parent who fails to abide by the law.

That is why I said that while the parents broke the law, that the daughter does not have a viable cause of action against them.

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So why would she have no viable cause to sue them? Her parents denying her an education has severely affected her life. Obviously, it's the state that would have to pursue any criminal charges, but I don't see why she would not have a claim against her parents for the damages they caused her. Using her as a full-time babysitter and cleaner I would think is a form of child labor. One lawyer suggested that it could be considered child abuse/neglect.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

Again, I would agree that it could be considered child neglect---clearly. But not child abuse. Abuse is defined as physical harm and not emotional harm or keeping the child from an education

I won't suggest that the parents are not terrible parents, deserving of jail time. However a child cannot successfully sue her parents for keeping her out of school.

I have been a family law attorney and tort law attorney for 30 years, and children cannot sue their parents for non-physical injuries---including emotional abuse, work that they are forced to do while a minor under the parent's control, or for pulling that child out of school.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---three stars or more. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.

Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,

Doug