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When a married couple decides to get a divorce, each side will get a portion of the marital property. They will also generally get to keep any property that they brought into the marriage or bought with separate funds. However, your soon to be ex-husband generally cannot keep property that belongs to you alone.
A Complete Property Inventory Should Be Done
The first step in the property division process is to determine what is sole property and what is marital property. For the most part, sole property is any asset or interest in an asset obtained before the marriage. It may also be any asset that was inherited from a family member. In some cases, separate property may become marital property if funds are commingled, a spouse makes improvements to it or if it appreciates in value during the marriage.
Disputed Property May Be Kept Where It Is
If there is a dispute over a one or more items, they may need to stay put until the matter can be resolved. For instance, if he claims that a painting or a dining room set was purchased with money from a joint account, you may not be able to take possession of it right away. Instead, you may need to show a cancelled check or a bank statement establishing where the money came from.
Personal Property Can Generally Be Picked Up Immediately
Assuming that there is no dispute that an item belongs to you, you should be able to pick it up whenever you want. In fact, it may be best to take as many of your things with you when you leave the first time. This eliminates the chances that anything is sold, donated or otherwise thrown out before you can take it. If you can, make sure that you arrange a time when you can go through your things alone. Furthermore, give yourself enough time to go through your property thoroughly before you leave.
What Happens If Your Property Is Disposed Of?
In the event that your property is disposed of without your permission or an order from the court, you may be entitled to the cash value of that property. You may also be entitled to additional damages if you are unable to work or otherwise live a normal life without those items. For instance, if your car was donated or sold, compensation may be added for lost wages if you miss work or lost earnings if missing work led to your termination.
For the most part, you are entitled to claim your property whenever it is convenient to do so. However, if a judge orders you to wait for any reason, you must abide by that order. Talking with an attorney may make it easier to understand your rights and make it easier to get everything that legally belongs to you.