I am a child abuse survivor. After being harassed for years I decided to leave and seek a new life. My biological parents suddenly disowned me and gave me 7 days to vacate their house. I was extremely lucky to have found shelter within a week. Upon arriving at my new residence, I realized a couple of items in my doll collection were missing. However I didn't want to travel hours back and forth nor was I fond of stepping in hostile territory so I just forgot about them for my mental health.

Four years have passed since. If a valuable object of high value was lost instead of dolls that cost a few dollars, I might have tried everything I could to get it back since it could have been vital to my survival. Had my biological parents relinquished their rights to search my room and take whatever is in it once they disowned me and gave me a grace period, enabling me to file a complaint?

If not, is disownment merely a symbolic gesture that has zero legal implications whatsoever and since I was still in their property, could they have done whatever they wanted with my goods including taking them away without any notice? Was 14 when that happened. Lived in California but moved elsewhere in case states matter.

1 Answer 1


Disowning is not a thing legally, at least in the United States. It is a symbolic expression of a person's feelings.

In and of itself, it has no legal effect, although actions taken based upon those feelings later may have legal effect (e.g. it could form a basis of an emancipation petition in California) if the child is kicked out of the house or otherwise not supported.

In many countries other than the U.S., something akin to disowning a child is necessary to legally disinherit that child.

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