Q:

How do you disown someone?

A:

There are both formal and informal means of disowning an adult family member (that is, a family member who has reached the age of legal majority in his state). When one of the interested parties is a minor, it is advisable to consult with a family-law lawyer because paperwork and court hearings are required.

When the individual desiring termination of the relationship does not feel threatened, ceasing contact with the disowned is the informal way to handle the matter. The disowned should be notified via certified mail regarding the severance of the family connection. If the individual is living with the disowned, a move is obviously required, and no forwarding address should be provided. Any written or electronic communications from the disowned should be refused.

If an individual is being threatened or abused by a family member, the relationship can be formally terminated with the assistance of the legal system. A few options are available including a written notification of the intention to sever family ties delivered to the disowned family member; a restraining order to restrict access; or having a government official serve the disowned with a notice-of-no-trespass. If the disowned violates a court order or notice, he can be charged with criminal trespass or be faced with financial penalties.


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