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One of the most controversial negotiated issues in divorce proceedings is how property gets divided. Some couples work out their issues; others refuse to let cooler heads prevail. Your spouse may decide the best way to act out their aggression is withholding your personal property.
Now, you are faced with trying to work out a time to get your belongings from your ex. If the divorce stretched the wedge between the two of you, this might not be simple. Nevertheless, you are entitled to your property, and there is a way for this to happen.
Taking Your Personal Property with You is Not Always Simple
Giving your ex-husband the benefit of the doubt, there might be things he feels entitled to if you took personal items when you moved out of the house before the divorce. If these were item you wanted to keep, it is understandable why you chose to do so.
Understanding the difference between marital and separate property can help you clear up any issues. This is an important distinction so you know which items are legally yours to keep.
Marital property is all the items you acquired during the marriage. Before either you or your ex can claim these items, state law will determine who is really entitled to the property.
You can take marital property when you move out. Just make sure you tell your spouse about it during the divorce proceedings. Keep in mind, however, that you might have to give it back if there was no mutual agreement. Most likely, the value of the items will be calculated in your property award.
Separate property is classified as anything you owned prior to the marriage. These items are your personal belongings and are not subject being divided during a divorce. Few exceptions apply to this legal principle, which is largely based on increased value of money or property that was converted into marital property.
How to Recover Personal Property after Moving Out
Details of a good property settlement spells out what each spouse gets and the timeframe in which you should receive it. If this is included in your settlement, make sure you have not missed the final date to get your property. Otherwise, you could risk forfeiting your rights.
There are options for getting your belongings, which is usually based on how well the two of you get along. Some things to consider:
• Arrange a time that is mutually agreeable for you to pick up your items.
• If you would rather not see your ex, agree on a time that you can go alone.
• Bring a third person with you. Preferably, this should be someone you both trust.
• Send a friend or family member to pick up your property after your ex packs everything. Of course, this depends on you trusting that your ex will pack everything that belongs to you.
What is most important is that you retrieve your personal property as agreed. Who actually picks them up is less important.
When your ex-husband prevents you from getting your personal property, you might have to request an order from the court. This is not legal. Your divorce lawyer can help you file the appropriate paperwork.