Plainsboro, NJ asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Family Law for New Jersey

Q: If I'm 15 years old and I buy my own phone with my money from my job is my mom legally allowed to take it from me?

I want to buy my own phone or lease one. But my mom says I can't, even though I have my own money. Is there any way that I can still buy my phone without her consent?

1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
  • Millburn, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Im glad to hear that you are working and earning your own money. Its a good start. Now, lets address the issue as to why mom wants "control" of your phone. Parents for the past 1,000 years have struggled with how to get their children to study, do well in school and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. And, for the past 1,000 years, children ( predominantly teenagers) think that they know best and that they should be allowed to make their own decisions. Therein lies the rub and the conflict between the role of a parent and the child. My best guess is that when you are disrespectful or fail to do chores or are not studying, your mom wants to take away your phone, knowing that it is your lifeline to your friends and your world and not having that phone will cause you tremendous upset. My sense is that is exactly what your mom is hoping to accomplish, so the question is how can you show your mom maturity to get her to let you purchase your own phone and at the same time, give her confidence that you will honor your responsibilities as a member of the household. My suggestion is that you draw up a contract with your mom, where she identifies your "reasonable" requirements (i.e. specific chores each week) and your entitlement to specific use of the phone ( agreed upon hours of use ). If you want to be treated like an adult with your own set of privileges, then prove to your mom that you are mature enough for it.

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