This week, our family lawyers take on one of the more extreme legal questions we’ve tackled so far, regarding one mother’s quest to retrieve her child’s baby tooth from her ex.
The Question: Can I sue to get my child’s baby tooth back?
Can I sue for my child’s tooth?
I have physical and legal custody of my child. My child lost a tooth while visiting her dad. He will not give me the tooth. I feel like physical custody includes lost body parts which include baby teeth. Can I require him to return the tooth or sue him for the tooth?
The Answer: You can sue for any reason you like, but you probably won’t be successful in winning a lawsuit over your child’s tooth — even if you have primary custody.
Congratulations to your child for loosing their tooth! What a big day for them. We hope the tooth fairy was generous!
To answer your legal question, though: It’s possible to file a civil lawsuit for just about anything, at any time.
However, what you’re probably asking is whether you’d be successful in suing him for the baby tooth, or otherwise holding him in contempt of the court order surrounding your physical custody agreement.
At first glance? No, you would most likely not win a lawsuit to get your child’s baby tooth back.
It would probably be a colossal waste of time and money. And, the judge hearing your case might decide to punish you with fines or your ex’s legal fees because you wasted the court’s time with a frivolous lawsuit.
But what if you have primary custody, you ask? Could he be in contempt of court because he “broke” the physical custody arrangement?
No, the court would probably not find your ex in contempt of the custody court order, just because he won’t give back your child’s tooth.
See, primary physical custody only pertains to the child’s actual being, while whatever body part they have is attached to them.
As soon as a part of the body (naturally) falls off, it’s considered “chattel” and no longer part of the person, and thus no longer covered under the physical custody agreement.
This “chattel” legal concept applies to your child’s tooth, and would have further applications for similar situations regarding hair and fingernail clippings — just in case you have any other ideas.
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